yeah, ok, so, um, ah, where’s that bush got to, i wouldn’t mind beating around it a little longer. i tried to stay out of this one because it’s just so… irritating.
JTL, SKY, WTF.
Dr Geert Leinders.
this embarrassing display of ‘i made a mistake’.
(love the journo’s comment to DB, ‘you’re anything but naiive’…)
now, back to JTL, SKY, WTF. a young lad comes along and smokes all before him in a blistering year. yet to claim that he was ‘average’ before then, as i’ve read in places, is misleading. JTL started racing at 18 and went from 4th Cat to 1st within a matter of months. roughly 2 years after that he was in the British U23 team.
he joined the French team CC Étupes for 2005, won the GP de Rocheville and podiumed in all his first ten races.
he then got sick with the Epstein-Barr virus but came back and worked his way back up, joining Rapha-Condor in 2011 where he was 5th in the Tour of Britain and won the KOM. then it was on to Endura for 2012, where he rocked Europe.
then on to Sky and a decent first year, though one made patchy as a result of illness.
now, either JTL’s been juicing since he was 18 or, more likely, he is talented.
of course, anyone who has a copy of The Recent Troubled History of Cycling sitting on their bookshelf (and that is quite the tome, my bookshelf now sags in the middle) will know that the vast majority of ‘successful’ (rated by win-rate & bank account, not physical health and mental sanity) pro cyclists over the past 20 years have been shown to be on dope. this doesn’t mean i’m saying that JTL is too.
just pointing out the bleeding obvious.
now, for the conspiracy theorists out there, this will be interesting: he signed with Team Sky at the tail end of 2012 but was training with the British ProTour outfit in early 2012, as confirmed by JTL’s then-manager in this article.
some say his performance at that year’s Tour of Britain would decide whether he got a contract with Sky or not. he didn’t only do quite well, he went on to win the race outright. he’d joined a team that was avowedly merciless in their pursuit of gains – the legal kind, DB told us all many times – but that had on its back-room roster a certain Dr. Geert Leinders, said by Michael Rasmussen to have been supplying Rabobank riders with da juice when he was on that team.
Sky stopped working with Leinders, they state, in October 2012, though he was said to not be part of the staff that oversaw Bradley Wiggins win at the Tour de France that same year. Wiggins of course had an incredible 2012 season, winning just about everything he woke up for.
again i am not into putting two and two together to get anything but 4 BUT there is no point denying that JTL was training for at least a portion of 2012 with a team that had on its roster at that time a doctor who in February 2013 had criminal charges brought against him for supplying and administering banned substances.
so yes, well done Sky management on that score for leaving everyone wondering just WTF is going on, when you hire a guy from a team about which there had already been rumblings and then go on about being 100% clean. in this climate? many in the cycling community say that Sky dope. that is a fact. to them, this is a red flag more red and more flag-like than just about any other red flag around these days.
for those who believe Sky are clean? they have to look sheepish and kick the dirt, hands in pockets, mumbling ‘well, you know, it’s hard to know these days…’
and THEN Tiernan-Locke returns suspicious readings and has disciplinary proceedings brought against him by the UCI.
“The analysis of the biological passport of Mr Jonathan Tiernan-Locke by the Experts Panel has demonstrated an anti-doping rule violation (use of prohibited substances and/or methods),” the UCI statement read.
“Consequently and in compliance with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI has requested his National Federation to initiate disciplinary proceedings.”
sounds to me like he’s screwed. really. i can’t think of many cases that get overturned and in the current environment i would think that Cookson does not want a long drawn out mess on his hands. of course, like any cyclist, i hope always that they are clean, but it does not look good for JTL.
now, on to the fans who leave comments on websites, and to what i can only see as a clear case of racism.
i know i know, eeeek!, right? but if we are to define Anglo-Saxon as a race, and Europeans as another or other races, then this is what we have right now, whipper snapping all over the English cycling media.
definition of racism:
Racism is defined as actions, practices or beliefs, or social or political systems that are based in view that sees the human species to be divided into races with shared traits, abilities, or qualities, such as personality, intellect, morality, or other cultural behavioral characteristics, and especially the belief that races can be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to others, or that members of different races should be treated differently. Wikipedia
ok, one word, morality. i’ve written about this before but will do so here again, and i’m sure in the future too, cos it keeps happening. the Anglo press used to display an attitude that read like this:
‘The Euros dope but the Anglos? Nope.’
when an Anglo did dope – like Floyd – he was seen as a bad apple, one that was just nestling like the ugly kid in the playground amongst all the good, bright and shiny apples. the Euros though, when they doped? heck, doping was endemic to Italian culture, all Spaniards dope! the Dutch? well they’re almost like us (and generally their English is actually better than many of my fellow countrymen) but yeah, they do it too…
and on it went.
then came Tyler. well, it’s ok, LA tells us he’s nuts. Pat tells us he’s a scumbag. and he was insane, right? like, he’s depressed, right?
and then – KABOOM! – there came LA and his mighty fall. and then Leipheimer. and then Zabriskie. and then Stuey. and then – onandonandonandon.
ok, now let’s look at the article on Road.cc that broke the news that JTL was getting his collar felt by the UCI, or, more specifically, let’s check out the comments.
‘he’s still not guilty until they’ve listened to him and they tell us he’s guilty. I’m tired of people declaring someone’s guilt before the judgement has been made. If it turns out that his previous medical conditions have lead to the anomaly what are you on your fellow barrack room lawyers going to say then? The process is not complete; until then he is I not guilty!’
i’ve no idea if Joe feels the same thing about Euro riders, but this kind of comment represents a thread of feeling conveyed by several other comments on the article.
Crazy Legs wrote:
“I agree that Sky suspending JTL is absolutely standard process and there is nothing wrong with that.
However, what is a bit poor is the way they have publicly distanced themselves from the guy. I say this because they know, they will know if JTL was doping last year or not… Why?because Jon was working nearly exclusively with BC and Sky from around June on-wards.
To say ‘he’s done nothing under our care’ and ‘this dates from before his time with us’ is frankly lying… and leaves a foul taste in my mouth.
Also, I am very surprised that the UCI have gone for this case as the amount of data collected is very small to be able to make such bold statements as he definitely doped… actually to be really specific with the nature of the doping, or blood manipulation they believe he is supposed to have done.
Personally, whether guilty or not, I can’t see how this will stand up to the due diligence of a full appeal case. They have all of 6 months data, taken during a time when the rider is known to have been in poor health.
It just seems strange to take the risk of pushing for a sanction when they could have gathered more data to make a more robust case either way.
My gut feeling is that Jon has been a pawn in a much bigger game… Poor Jon.”
well, the UCI must think it has a case, and is Cookson is targeting JTL and Sky out of some sort of malice as CL seems to suggest, that would be very surprising…
Andy Halls writes:
“What a pity for the sport whatever the outcome. However doping is not limited to cycling remember, I read some (dunno where so don’t ask) that half the pro-tour golfers have been identified with doping.
Keyboard warriors are on form tonight I see.”
yeah, that 0ld chestnut. first of all, who gives a f*ck about golf, and doping in it, or tennis etc, that is not even close to a valid point, and secondly, it’s terms like ‘keyboard warriors’ that are used to dismiss any and every argument that disagrees with the one you personally hold, irrespective of the facts it might contain.
believing that a team or a rider is clean is fine, until something comes along that suggests otherwise. then – as we saw for YEARS with LA, to continue to maintain your original position is nothing short of folly and pretty damn close to stupidity. now is the time to question, moreso than any other.
one last on from Road.cc, from Fukawitribe:
“I see the no idea’s, don’t knows, no abilities and never done anythings see the need to write someones life off before the process is finished. Lets see what happens now rather than being judge and jury, it’s what we’d expect for ourselves so why not for JTL.”
again, no idea how consistent Fukawi is with the Euros, with the Conty’s and the Vino’s, but it is a common thread through these comments, this feeling that JTL deserves a fair chance to explain himself.
then, let’s look at the comments for a similar article that appeared in the French l’Equipe this week…
“It’s sad but a bit obvious since the year 2012 he did (Mediterranean tower, GB …) when he came out of nowhere”
“We remember the Med Tour [which JTL won in ’12] … And an unknown rides like a rocket. It is already far too much …”
“What a surprise …”
as you can see, there is a disparity in response between the English and French website’s comments.
why so? well, of course the French have historically been at odds with the ‘roast beefs’, but as far as i can see, the responses on l’Equipe mirror the kind of responses i’ve seen on US, English and Aussie sites when Italians or Spaniard cyclists are in similar positions to JTL.
if i say this might be because JTL is English, road.cc’s readers tend to be British, Sky is British, and that cycling’s popularity in the UK is a relatively new phenomenon and that some cycling fans there are relatively new to the sport, would that be wrong?
the ‘Sky are good’ feel that emanates from the UK comes from that idealised notion that the British are somehow fairer in their doings and their sports than other nations.
true or not, that notion has become idealised. however, we must remember that we cyclists are cyclists first, then English, Dutch, or Japanese. and The Recent History of Cycling tells you that several teams that were at the top of the sport in the past 20 years have been found to be largely on dope (US Postal is the most obvious), and that many, many riders that performed at the top level consistently and/or made substantial jumps in form have been found to have doped.
check the top ten of the Tour for about ooh a decade from the late 90s to see that.
again, these are the facts, and again, i am just stating the bleeding obvious.
now, in regards to that, if any English or any other fan wishes to say ‘hey no way JTL is clean!’ before waiting for the outcome of the case, then your head is in the sand.
all we can say, with any certainty, is i do not know…
but one thing is a necessity – be consistent in your defending or your chastising, whichever it is you do. an Anglo is no more or less likely to dope than anyone else. it must all be judged on a one-by-one basis. after all, that attitude – the Anglos don’t dope – is one that helped LA and his cohorts get away with so much for so long.