Matt Cooke Interview: ‘You would never know their names if they had never taken drugs’

American former professional rider (he has just retired at 35) Matt Cooke came on the radar screens at crankpunk HQ when he commented on an article i wrote about dopers having those wonderful gran fraudos, as they do. we then chatted a little about doing an interview but never got round to it.

then i saw a comment from Matt on a photo of Zabriskie, attending some awards dinner or something recently, where Matt basically said ‘dude you robbed me’, and i knew we had to get that interview done.

so here it is, unedited, unabridged. one thing i am sure of is that he means every word.

_______________________________

1170837_10152150269594046_911574056_n

crankpunk: Why aren’t you a doper?! Scared of needles?

Matt Cooke:  I’m not a doper because I have never done drugs. Beyond that I think it takes away from what is great about sport. Or at least what we are all taught is great about sport ie. that it is a fair competition.

 

cp: Why should we believe you?

MC: That’s a tricky question because it’s hard to prove of course. But the real reason you can believe me is because if I took PEDs I would have progressed beyond continental racing in the US a long time ago. I am natural climber and I am actually pretty talented in that respect but if you gave me PEDs man I would go REALLY fast.

 

cp: How and why did you decide not to dope? Family environment? Experience of other riders? Or…?

MC: I like to think most people are pretty bright but the older I get I am finding out that is not so true. The choice not to do drugs is pretty easy. I want to do this sport fair. If I get beat I want to be able to actually congratulate the guy. I also don’t want to have to lie to everyone I know. It would kill me inside too. The truth is I am just too damn honest and I’m too sympathetic and I would feel for the guy I cheated.

But I did have a good family with very good values. There was never any pressure to perform at bikes. Maybe that helped. I was an Eagle Scout. All my friends had good families too. My friends were honest. As kids if we did the smallest thing wrong we felt bad about it. We had good values growing up.

 

cp: You’re pretty vocal about doping and about others who have been caught and continue to be lauded, so what are your thoughts on Zabriskie, Levi et al?

MC: I wish other riders would speak up because we could make a change. But some are still racing and they are afraid of losing their jobs, and they actually should be afraid. Hincapie runs a team so those guys can’t say anything. It would make the work environment pretty uncomfortable at Garmin if riders there spoke up. But when people like me speak out, we are actually saying the truth. How can the truth be wrong?

 Fans do not like to have the curtain pulled back. They want to keep cheering for their favorite rider and not really think about what he did. They think “Oh he did a little cheating. But everyone was doing it. And he did his time.” ALL FALSE. One, they all blood doped, remember that is taking your blood out and putting it back in later! That’s just insane. Two, not all of them took PEDs, I never did and look where I am, I quit the sport because of how diseased it is (more on that later), and three, they did not do their time – most of them did six months in the off season and Ryder [Hesjedal] did no time at all.  

_AIK0102
with Mancebo (center) at the Tour of the Gila

And after those six months are done they go back to getting paid six figures. And remember they got to that pro tour level and they got on that clean team because they were once massive performance enhancing drug users – i.e. career criminals.

Without the drugs they wouldn’t have been there.

Let’s take them at their word for argument sake that they all did stop doping in 2006, independently and at the same time – well, they did drugs for many years prior to that. They got to do many grand tours, they did countless long classic races, they had access to the best training methods, coaches, doctors and places to train.

They were given access to all those things because they got great results because of their drug use. Without the drugs they would never have gotten to that point and that is what many people forget. Those people are so-called fans, fan-boy journalists, former and current racers and now I see it includes race announcers here in the US also.

This is the take away – you would never know their names if they had never taken drugs.

1006338_10201331302340425_1893946262_n

Something else that is painfully obvious but everyone seems to ignore or maybe they are just too dumb to see, is that we would never even know their names if they hadn’t have taken drugs.

Where would Tom Danielson be if he had never taken the drugs? Where would Levi be?   No where. They got their fame through cheating and that included stepping on many clean riders like myself and many, many others. Even if they really did stop, they did all those grand tours and training for the grand tours, which is an advantage I and others like me never had.

If you’ve ever raced at a high level you know that the riders who have done grand tours have an advantage over the riders who haven’t.

Those guys I just mentioned, Horner too, came over to the US to do “training races” and they beat all our butts. And the fans cheered for them. They clamored to get their autograph. What a bunch of horseshit. They took prize money and podiums from us.

I just read a piece I wrote for a magazine in 2007 about my neo-pro season with Navigators (I could say a lot about that team too) and I was writing about the Cascade Classic that year. I was on the final climb and Levi attacked. There was a hesitation from the field and I said to myself “the hell with this” and I rode across to him.

Me and Levi at Gila
Matt racing with Levi at the Tour of Gila

I think I was there for ten seconds or so before I blew sky high and finished way down that day. That race and other instances just like that changed me, it changed how good I thought I could be. I thought “Oh I guess I am not as good as I thought I was. I need to reevaluate how high I can make it in this sport.”

Can you see how that changed what I thought I could do in this sport? Levi and all the others that are too numerous to name almost, not only stole money by way of placing’s but they stole the imagination of clean riders to reach the highest points of the sport.

And its also not just prize money, people forget about the opportunities us clean riders missed, spots on big teams, higher salaries. I have finished second in important races to riders who I knew were geared up. Imagine if I had won those races. I would have looked a lot more attractive to bigger budget teams.

Would you like examples? Several of the US Pro Championship races George and Levi won back to back. Then Cascade, Gila, Tour of California, Tour of Utah and the Pro Challenge. At all those races, guys who were totally lubed up stole major placings from clean riders.

 

cp: You recently sent a post to a FB post about some riders (it was Zab right? And…?) being patted on the back for some ride or other – can you tell us about that and, any blowback from that from the apologists?

MC: I think a lot of people have backed off because I was vocal. I feel fine with it because I am actually right. I’ve called out current pros from sucking up to Levi and they backed off from me. I don’t mind it but that is my business. I don’t understand why any clean rider would ever back off a guy who is fighting for his and her cause. I’m on their side yet sometimes they want to be closer to the guy who cheated them for years. I say, that’s their problem not mine.

And to be honest I have spoken out a lot but it is actually only a small percentage of what I want to say. There are some things I am afraid to say because there are powerful people in the sport that would give me a hard time. Not physically but we have mutual friends and I don’t want there to be tension.

 

 cp: Do you get any feedback from others in the peloton/out on the road?

MC: Yes several riders came up to me and said ‘thanks for saying what you are saying’. ‘You are right Matt.’ Things like that. They are in a hard spot because if they speak out they won’t get jobs, and I understand that. I was leaving so I said “the hell with it, I am saying how I feel.”

With Paco at Gila PM
on Mancebo’s Wheel of Dubious Power!

 

 cp: Might you possibly be risking an advancement of your own career here – being branded a ‘troublemaker’?

MC: Well I am not racing any more so I’m not too worried about that. It’s a shame because this could be a great sport but it really is so corrupted that it is hard to turn your head at the race buffet and not see a major cheater or hypocrite or enabler somewhere in your glance.

And really how could I be called a trouble maker? I believe it has been proven that Chris Carmichael actually did dope juniors, also I believe it has been proven Levi did test positive in 1996 and Will Frischkorn and another Saturn rider said a rider who is still racing in the pro peloton taught them how to use EPO. And I am sure you figure out who that is on your own. But I am just repeating these things. I didn’t do the drugs and steal the money, they did.

 

cp: Is cycling really getting cleaner?

MC: I do think it is getting cleaner. You can win races clean. At least here in the US and I’m sure you can in Europe too. Maybe not consistently over there but I believe you can. But that is just a small part of it. Look at the people still involved in the sport. Many of them were heavy PEDs users and they are the ones in charge. And then you tell yourself “Well once all the cheater riders retire it will be a better environment.” But that’s not true either because all those guys will be the next directors and team owners and coaches.

So my feeling is that this sport has no hope until after I am dead because I am about the same age as all those pathological liars.

Also consider how these guys like Levi are treated by current riders. So many of them love him. They go to his grand fondo, they have podcasts with him.   It’s unbelievable. This guy actually stole from them and here they are having tea with him.

Did you see Chris Carmichael just got a podcast? Remember the law suit regarding the juniors? They were kids for christ’s sake. And he built an empire off of his lies. The bio on his website has no mention of Lance, yet he wouldn’t exist if not for Lance. They did books together for christ’s sake, how do people forget this stuff.

1185301_10101711134938763_50449117_n

cp: Any thoughts on why American supporters of American dopers are so particularly gung-ho about still loving these guys?

MC: As you can tell what I’ve written I see no reason to love them. I do see how you could sympathize with them. You could imagine yourself in their shoes and start to rationalize the choices they made, but that doesn’t mean they were the right choices.

The reason the American supporters love them so much is they just want to be around famous people. That is where most of these “journalists” fit in. They are just terrible, none of them actually lived the sport. They are just fan boys. They can argue with me till the cows come home but the truth is they have never stood in my shoes and have not seen the things I have seen and so it is not possible for them to even come close to reporting the truth.

Why does Velo do an interview with Levi and not once ask him about his positive test from 1996? They’ve interviewed him multiple times over the past year but every time they asked softball questions and with no push back or follow up.

Now I’m sure they could and will come back and say “hey Matt we did ask 1 little itty bitty follow up.” But the point is the interview was just an opportunity to give him more sympathy and show how great of a guy he is. The fact is, he’s a career thief.

Is there any other way to look it him? No, there isn’t.

 

cp: Feelings on former dopers being involved in pro teams or coaching?

MC: They should not be involved, period. George is sponsoring some young guys which is commendable. I don’t think he is coaching them. I believe that situation of a team needs a very clean delineation of who is involved with what.

 

cp: What are your thoughts on the current two year ban?

MC: It’s too short. Four years and they need to be tested during their ban at their expense.

Matt makes his feelings known - after he called out Lucas Euser for attending Levi's Fraudo, Lucas blocked Matt on Twitter
Matt makes his feelings known – after he called out fellow pro Lucas Euser for attending Levi’s Fraudo, Euser blocked Matt on Twitter. Did someone say ‘OMERTA’?! SSSSSSSSSSSHHHH!

 

cp: How did it feel – and when did it dawn on you – when you realized that there were these two separate tiers on the peloton – and that, as the evidence has shown was actually true – you and others like you might be being robbed of wins?

MC: It dawned on me a few years in. It was more recently for sure. I knew I was getting beaten by cheaters but I never knew the extent of what they did and how big the advantages they gained were. I was teammates with guys who heavily used EPO for years but I didn’t find out until years after the fact.

Over time I realized that my early years in the sport were partly shaped by guys who cheated and that is a big reason I am so angry. I am not blaming them for the entirety of my career, but there were important things that were changed by them.

Of course I’ve never taken PED’s but I was told a few years after leaving Navigators by someone who was a teammate at the time “Oh you didn’t know? We were all using.”

He was exaggerating, not everyone on that team was using PEDs but many were and it blew my mind when he told me. So then I think back and remember instances in specific races where guys would make a big move in a race and I was cross eyed from trying to go with them. Or two guys I later found were juiced up racing each other for seconds in a TT and other blowing the field away. Stuff like that gets you mad because you know you could have done super well in a certain race had you not been going up against a guy who was geared up.

After Nav’s broke up at the end of 2007 guys went everywhere and the ones who were the big users kept using and kept at it on their new teams for several years after that. Those names I can’t not say right now because I don’t have photos or taped conversations but I do know it happened and authorities are being notified.

But if you put your thinking cap on it is not too hard to find out. I wish USADA and the magazines would put those thinking caps on because they could do a great deal of good.

 

cp: Any advice to young kids looking to go pro, and/or to their parents?

MC: If you like cycling go for it. Clean guys can win races these days. At least here in America they can, probably Europe too.

 

cp: What are you hoping for your own future?

MC: I hope to be as happy and as fun loving as I have always been. I have a great life. I have a wonderful wife and dog and I am doing a job search now that is a little scary but I believe it will be rewarding.  Ultimately this is a big diverse world we live in and I want to see as much of it and do as much as I can before I die.

cp: Thanks Matt.

 

 

126 thoughts on “Matt Cooke Interview: ‘You would never know their names if they had never taken drugs’

    1. USADA fighting to clean up pro cycling. That’s a fucking joke. Travis Tygart was on the legal team vs. Dr. Wade Exum who has made it clear to me that Tammy Thomas and Lance Armstrong and others were allowed to use PEDs by USAC, and the USOC. Isn’t it time we start asking for an investigation into USADA? Isn’t it time we start to point the fingers at the real kings of corruption. As the first American professional rider to speak out and the only rider fired over a website, I think you should listen to me now, because I was saying all of this stuff in this article in 2003.

      That said, bravo Matt. I think anti-doping is a Matt thing.

      1. Easy to point fingers at others and complain but what exactly have you done to help resolve issue ? And what did “being the first american professional rider to speak out” actually achieve ?

        Btw anti doping is not “a Matt thing” either unless that helps make you feel relevant 🙂

      2. Why look it up Izzy? whats that going to achieve? i.e. so what? not the first to point out doping and not the last

      3. Decanio was the FIRST to make a big noise about the bullshit. Did it matter? Did things change? Arguable, but the courage he displayed is not arguable. He was denigrated by the shithead apologists and many of those who beat on him are still in the sport (Crawford is finally paying some small price, many others are still benefitting). One of the most talented riders of that era, so he paid a massive price.

      4. Before you sing DeCanio’s praises too much, don’t forget HE DOPED and served a two year ban. Sure, he may have been vocal after the fact, but he was a cheat himself FIRST.

  1. Hi Guys

    Great interview from a brutally honest rider.

    Have you thought about or have you done an interview with the other Cooke (Nicole) apart from the surname they could be cut from the same cloth

    Cheers

    Karl

  2. Someone is a bit bitter and there smacks of an element of “the only reason I didn’t make it to the top was because of dopers”

      1. yes ‘that old line’ is an old line that is used over and over because it has elements of truth otherwise it wouldn’t be used 🙂

    1. http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/athletics/29515182

      “If you exercise, or take anabolic steroids, you get more nuclei and you get bigger muscles. If you take away the steroids, you lose the muscle mass, but the nuclei remain inside the muscle fibres.
      “They are like temporarily closed factories, ready to start producing protein again when you start exercising again.”

      Its not like any doper is “clean”, even after 4 years. In 1998 Jacky Durand took EPO and finished 67th in the GC of TdF so, yea dopers took away places of clean riders in that race no matter Pantani would’ve won it clean or it. Cooke is not advocating he’d have won a stage like Durand did, he’s only advocating he’d have had a better chance for riding the TdF or racing for bigger teams.

      Also our society glorifies dopers, Durand comments cycling on Eurosport, same as Virenque. Its all good if you are famous, no matter how much you cheated to get there.

      Read why Cooke is pissed off and then you might get to the bottom of his anger with this situation.

    2. Let me say ‘notafan’, you are an idiot. Cooke wanted to race in a level playing field and two years in he found out that it wasn’t an option. He still chose to race clean, those who didn’t ROBBED every single rider who raced clean. That is a fact, so take your negative nelly, oh he must be bitter, drivel somewhere else. I am tired of reading about racers who race clean being portrayed as bitter or angry. There should be ZERO tolerance on the use of banned PED’s but we want to still glorify the cheaters. Go suck it ‘notafan’ because I am certainly NOT A FAN of your comments.

      1. Thanks for keeping it classy karen by name calling and advice on what I should do, I will choose to respect the right for everyone to have an opinion, you can disagree with mine if you like 🙂

      2. Notafan, if you’re not a fan, and are completely clueless, and have never dipped a toe in the competitive waters, why not just fuck off? You have no right, and no basis, to comment. Seriously, fuck off.

      3. Notafan of the over used fanboy moniker Greg as for the rest of your comment please point out where it is stated on this blog that the only comments allowed are those that are in total agreement with what is being said in the interview as I was unaware of this

    3. CLASSY? If I read your initial statement correctly you called him “a bit bitter” so I just figured since you reduced the entire interview to your opinion in that statement, I can make my own observation and express it freely. My apologies if the insensitive nature of my observation hits close to home for you, Notafan. You are entitled to your opinion just as I am about your opinion and your valueless jab. Maybe next time you could get more creative and qualify your statement, otherwise you get people like me thinking you are just an idiot.

      1. if your inclined to call someone you have never met an idiot, reinforce it in a second post, and tell them to go suck it then in my opinion you may want to reconsider telling someone else to be more creative and perhaps I will throw in polite and mature as well. If you want to tell me that he is not bitter then sorry I will disagree with you. No observation you make on my comments ‘hits close to home’ for me and honestly why would it ?!?! I have never even met you nor do i have any validation as to what value your opinion would hold to me personally (although I am starting to form some opinions on it 🙂 ) Which part of ..Someone is a bit bitter and there smacks of an element of “the only reason I didn’t make it to the top was because of dopers”… would you like me to qualify for you as I thought it was fairly clear what my observation was.

        Let me elaborate then …we all have things that go wrong in life, we all have things that we have been cheated out of, we all have things that we can be bitter about, you either do something constructive about it or you suck it up on get on with life because if you don’t then you end up bitter and twisted and come across as a whinger.

        If you would like me to directly address his comments then fine I won’t go through them one by one but here is a couple for you

        1) “But the real reason you can believe me is because if I took PEDs I would have progressed beyond continental racing in the US a long time ago” – absolutely impossible to know because the situation never existed, if for arguments sake no-one was using then we still don’t know wether he would or he wouldn’t unless you believe the donkeys to race horses theory which is incredibly over simplistic

        2) “I do think it is getting cleaner. You can win races clean. At least here in the US and I’m sure you can in Europe too. Maybe not consistently over there but I believe you can” – There is no way on earth that anyone could possibly claim to know what happens in an entire sport – therefore it is a generalisation that is presented, or at the very least interpreted by some, as fact just because here is a guy who is in a sport we love at a reasonable level of competition so hey yeah he must know everything or is suddenly an ‘authority’ on doping in the sport – It is not a black and white situation as Matt presents it

        Forgive me for putting more credence into provable factual information not clouded by yes bitterness and emotion – and don’t even get me started on my opinion on how to treat people that have made mistakes in life and wether anyone is ever deserving of a second chance if potentially ‘reformed’ god forbid Matt ever makes any mistakes in life oh wait a second he is human so of course he has ! <- yes granted this is highly subjective and open to personal opinion

      2. “One, they all blood doped, remember that is taking your blood out and putting it back in later! That’s just insane. Two, not all of them took PEDs, I never did and look where I am, I quit the sport because of how diseased it is (more on that later), and three, they did not do their time”…So they all blood doped but didn’t take PEDs? they were all cheating by blood doping but not all were taking PEDs which is also a form of cheating? i.e. they are either all cheating or they aren’t all cheating or are we to imply that you are only talking about a small subset of US riders that “stole your opportunities” ?!?!? – thats confusing but wait theres more “The reason the American supporters love them so much is they just want to be around famous people. That is where most of these “journalists” fit in.” so suddenly Matt is an expert in media as well despite, to the best of my knowledge, never having worked in media ?!?! how balanced is that!?!?! want me to throw in the fact that imo this is heavily biased to just one publication of many (Velonews) and probably even as likely to be directed at one journalist in particular (Neal Rogers) as evidenced by twitter interaction and it becomes even clearer how subjective one persons opinion based on a few facts, observations, and a very small sample size and suddenly this is representative of the sport as a whole – anyone heard of personal bias and its ability to cloud the actual factual truth ?!?!? Now I am not saying that I don’t have empathy for Matt I do to some degree but if your also not recognising the bitterness and haven’t done due diligence on the true narrative behind this blog site then you should to help give you better context Karen, unless of course you are more interested in ‘just figuring’ things and calling people idiots 🙂

      3. Cool, you can elaborate on your bitter comment. And all it took was someone calling you out albeit by the name idiot. Let me give you a bit if background on what I know to be true and why I don’t think Matt is bitter or using an excuse. I know numerous guys in pro cycling who tell the same story. And every one of them won’t say who and left the sport or retired because of it. You have to take my word for it. It’s pervasive. There was an entire US team dedicated to racing clean and were proving it. What was that teams name again? So there had to be some interest in cleaning up the sport and leveling the playing field. I am remiss on the team and what happened to their efforts. At any rate I retired from my duties at a different level and entity of the sport because people looked the other way or said don’t say anything because of who a certain racer was. The cheating isn’t just the racers. But you will just have to take my word for it, it’s not just Cooke and it’s not just racers. And I am not bitter, disappointed would be a better word, sad too, for a sport I love but now have very little respect for. And I didn’t enjoy being right all along about LA and endured countless people telling me I was wrong. But you pent hear me say ‘I told you so’ because deep down I was hoping I was wrong.

      4. I have commented and expanded liberally 🙂 throughout the comments karen if you care to scroll down. That aside the very notion that he puts across that he didn’t succeed and was cheated has some elements of truth but large elements of denial – think about it and take a look at his past results as well btw very very rarely in top 10 according to Pro Cycling Stats – by default he is then saying that he didn’t get the opportunity to progress to higher level teams not because he didn’t have the talent but because others (and that then would have to be ALL others that did make that step) took those opportunities away from him. So the default then is that he thought he had the talent but others had to get there by cheating, only takes aim at a few select individuals (that we are mostly all aware of now anyways) e.g Leipheimer, Hincapie etc etc so the other riders were all cheating as well?!?!? and if you use PCS to look at race results by implication that is often a fair few riders that he is pointing the finger at – So to make blanket statements. no matter what the pervasiveness of the doping situation, that his lack of progression in the sport was robbed from him is wrong when there are examples of people making it without cheating “not all of them took PEDs” is yes a form of denial and bitterness – I genuinely hope he gets over it and doesn’t end up with what I call ‘kimmage syndrome’ where despite the good you may have done, or think you are doing, ultimately it chews you up inside and consumes you.

      5. Should we also even ask if some of the results that he did get were assisted by riders on his team that also may have been cheating? Clearly this is not as black and white as it is unfortunately being portrayed and lacks real journalistic balance

      1. thanks for the advice Keith however despite the eloquently written, and comprehensively compelling argument you put forward I will exercise my right to comment as I see fit just as you are obviously able to comment on my comments. Not that it overly warrants a reply but for the record I am not a ‘doping fan’ by any stretch of the imagination. Hope you have a great day mate 🙂

      2. I guessed you also missed the fact that I have already commented previously “no more a fan of what riders did, and may still be doing, or are doing (as in they have never been caught) than anyone else”

  3. What a great interview, and what an incredible person Matt must be. Notafan snidely comments about bitterness, but he seems to have missed the point – every clean rider must, and should, be bitter about the cheats, their enablers, and the apologists that allow corruption and fraud to ruin the sport and destroy the careers of those with integrity. My only frustration with this interview is this: ‘And to be honest I have spoken out a lot but it is actually only a small percentage of what I want to say. There are some things I am afraid to say because there are powerful people in the sport that would give me a hard time.’ I understand why he won’t or can’t say more, but it all needs to come out, and the dodgy directors, coaches, doctors, financiers and fraudsters need to be barred from the sport forever.

    1. No point missed I can assure you, but I choose to not hang on to bitterness while others clearly do not – if he has facts talk to CIRC or whoever is appropriate i.e do something constructive but bleating about things on a blog is entirely self serving, whether intentional or not, and will serve no purpose other than to provide yet another platform to reinforce that bitterness – I’ve followed the sport for over 20 years so I am well aware of what Levi etc have done previously, I don’t need to read it all over again by someone like velonews or whomever

      1. I choose to not hang on to bitterness
        Is personally attacking Matt all that you have? Because it doesn’t work.

        I don’t need to read it all over again
        Well, then spend your time watching the WWE wrestling then because some of us would like to follow a sport with more integrity than cycling currently exhibits.

      2. I would say the same to anyone who had commented in the way he has so no not personal
        Have followed cycling for over 20 years and will continue to do so for the rest of my life
        Integrity is extremely important to me along with constructive progress – This interview unfortunately will ultimately not change a single thing apart from giving someone a forum to vent and for us all to offer up our opinions – sad but true

      3. On the contrary, if articles on this topic did appear in Velonews or other cycling magazines it would be an extremely important step. If the journalists at these publications, or indeed anyone else in positions of influence, actually cried foul about the truth of the doping problem rather than ignoring it (fans with typewriters/leptops?), it would exert a pressure on cycling governing bodies and team sponsors (who I suppose get quite a boost from readers seeing a report on a guy with their company name on his short winning a race) to actually address the problem in a menaingful way rather than keeping up appearances (i.e. largely keeping quiet). This pressure, certainly, can never be equalled by blog posts, but part of the problem is that the truth only appears on sites like these.

      4. Peader – are you seriously trying to tell me that you have never read anything on doping in a magazine, on a website, heard on a podcast, watched on tv ?!?!?!?! do you not think that UCI / WADA / Governing Bodies / Team Sponsors etc are unaware of the issue ?!?!?! Please I genuinely ask what truly new information has been presented in this interview that is not specific to one particular persons circumstances? do you want to go back, even if we had evidence, to when the bulk of the interview was referring to and hand out punishments for then? and most of the Garmin guys did get a punishment wether we agree with the terms of it or not (yes I know he referred to others but the inference I took was that the bulk of it was directed at Levi, George, Danielson etc) ? what would that achieve moving forward?

    2. I agree with all you’ve said Alastair and yes “it all needs to come out”. But depressingly even when it does all come out the cheats, enablers etc all keep their jobs or are able to find new jobs at WT teams. It’s difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel.

  4. Great work Crankpunk, and i am also looking forward to the Nicole Cooke piece. M Cooke makes a great point about the journalists and the coverage still given to these career criminals. Shameful, and it will continue to perpetuate itself until there is change. as for the douche-i-ness of notafan, lets hope he is not a fan, the sport needs far less of him and far more like Matt and journos like you.

      1. No I am not a rider, I prefer to live in 2014 and not dwell on things that happened in the past – no more a fan of what riders did, and may still be doing, or are doing (as in they have never been caught) than anyone else I just what it is actually achieving to attempt to clean up the sport. Life isn’t fair ! you either do something constructive about it or you, suck it up and deal with it, or move on and do something else.

      2. And while I am at it 🙂 what difference would it have made if I was a rider or not? surely you are making a generalisation that my personal opinion would be determined by wether I am a rider or not which is an overly simplistic assumption to make

    1. Thanks Peter for your opinion on who should and shouldn’t be a fan of the sport or not, my question to you would be what qualifies you as deciding who should be a fan of the sport or not? (Thats a rhetorical question by the way)

  5. Great interview.
    If I was talented young racer and got shelled by guys I subsequently found out were on the juice, I would be really really bitter. All that training and all that lost opportunity and the plain injustice would just eat away. Its when current racers don’t speak plainly like this, it makes you wonder about them.

    1. Agree. notafan is out of line pointing the finger at Matt Cooke and calling him bitter. He hasn’t walked in his shoes, and for some reason can’t empathize with him. Well I can and I think that Matt’s feelings are completely understandable. I wish more riders would speak out as Matt has done.

      1. Out of line ?!?! where is this mythical line and who determines where this line is or isn’t ?!?! just because I take his comments as being bitter doesn’t mean that I don’t have empathy for his situation – how a person chooses to react to a situation is obviously entirely their own choice just as how I interpret their reaction is entirely my own choice but please don’t be so presumptuous as to assume that because someone doesn’t agree with Matts reaction that they are “out of line” or that their opinion isn’t any more or less valid than anyone else. Speaking out will only truly be worthwhile if something constructive is actually achieved beyond just an interview on a blog site which is clearly self serving for both the blogger and Matt. Nothing necessarily wrong with that but it is what it is, so while I wish it could achieve something constructive to reducing the cheating I sincerely believe it is naive to believe it will serve as anything other than a platform to vent.

        I read a lot of complaining in the interview but I read very few solutions or action taken to actually address resolving the issue.

  6. Bitter …… Bitter!!

    Every right to be bitter in my opinion I’d have been as mad as hell. I mean should he be sanguine about it all.

    As Nicole Cooke has and will continue to say the likes of Hamilton have earned even more money writing about their ill gotten careers earning ill gotten gains at the expense of riders with a more Corinthian value.

    Thieves is the least they should be called.

    Sport seems to be the only place where financial fraud does not carry a penal punishment.

  7. Good on you Matt. This is how recent cycling history needs to be written, not the “everyone did it” BS.

    Let’s hope the story of the dope-enablers at USACDF, Thom Wiesel and Steve Johnson, somehow reaches a larger audience.
    The fact that a guy like Mancebo (Operation Puerto, Rock Racing) was given a paid ride and going further back Genevieve Jeanson getting a license when Canada rightfully wouldn’t give her one, is just sick.

    Those who stayed at Thom’s place before Nationals many, many years ago should do the right thing like Matt did.

    Please do not stop telling these stories. The full scale of the corruption and immediate danger to athletes is not yet revealed.

  8. I have known Matt since he was an amateur and he has always taken the high road toward the sport. The underlying theme to professional sports today is the “Dirty vs. Clean” argument. It doesn’t matter if it’s cycling, baseball, etc… the penalties for getting caught are minimal at best. If the first infraction was “banned for life”, maybe the numbers would change, but there are still guys out there who see the cost/benefit being well worth it. Stand up interview Matt and best of luck in the future.

  9. I would have liked for him to be this vocal WHILE he was racing (maybe he has been, just never seen the coverage of it). How about a protest at a start line of a race that had known dopers? Something like that would have garnered a LOT of attention. Without it, it can be viewed as “sour grapes” to an extent for his lack of top tier results (mind you, I’d kill to have this guys results).

    Seems like a nice dude, just wish the clean guys took a harder stance during their riding careers and simply stated “we won’t race against known / convicted dopers”. Period.

    As for cycling in general, I doubt it’s “cleaner” overall. Maybe not as nutso dirty as the Festina / US Postal years, but I’m guessing there’s still plenty of “geared” up riders in the US and European ranks.

  10. I find it’s generally easier to not think about the potential lost opportunities, but being a lesser rider than Matt that’s quite a bit easier for me to do.

    Matt, you say, “And to be honest I have spoken out a lot but it is actually only a small percentage of what I want to say. There are some things I am afraid to say because there are powerful people in the sport that would give me a hard time. Not physically but we have mutual friends and I don’t want there to be tension.”

    This is why most people are quiet. They don’t want the tension. What good is it for you to talk about all these people indirectly you know were doping, but not name any of them? It throws the good guys under the bus with the bad guys, but at the same time lets the bad guys get away with it still. If they are career criminals, cheats, liars, and you are 100% sure of it, why let it go on?

    I appreciate the interview, Matt, and don’t mean to come off harsh, but it feels like you are falling into the same trap of the Omertà as those who’ve come before you, no?

    1. IMO, it’s a little unfair to label it omerta. He’s got no choice but to make the statements in a pretty constrained way anyway you look at it.

      -coordinate with USADA who can’t do much without USACDF owner Thom Wiesel.
      -USACDF isn’t protecting the integrity of the sport and the sport has a government granted monopoly in the U.S. So, they are going nowhere, and answer to no one.
      -limit frivolous lawsuits from people inside the sport with deep pockets. Though, at this point a few ride for barista wages. Most ride for near zero pay at the Continental level. Our current national champion has a job.
      -negatively impact personal relationships he feels are valuable.

      1. I completely understand what you are saying “channel zero”. My point is only that if you can’t really speak the truth, for the reasons you mentioned that are in fact 100% valid, what’s the point of speaking like this publicly? It doesn’t really get us anywhere from I can tell. It mostly makes Matt sound bitter, which he has every right to be!

        It’s a difficult situation (being an exceptional, but “clean” athlete) Matt got into. I don’t envy it at all.

      2. what’s the point of speaking like this publicly?
        At minimum to inform. Ideally, to inspire some action to bring some integrity back to the sport.

        We all understand the personal attack (ex. he’s bitter) is easy. As long as Matt acts with truth and integrity, the personal attacks just make the attackers look awful. Matt seems to be acting with courage and integrity. Something the sport is missing in the U.S.

      3. channel zero, you have a positive take on it, which I appreciate. Courage and integrity are definitely a difficult thing when a silver bullet could easily be snuck into one’s ammo. Lots of respect for what Matt has accomplished. Just hoping something positive can come from him saying the limited amount he’s comfortable speaking about. Talking about the mafia is a lot different than saying who is part of it. It’s a tricky situation, for sure.

  11. For people saying why didn’t he speak while racing (Isomers2013), the omerta is huge, its a good thing it doesn’t keep until you die. Look at Christophe Bassons:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christophe_Bassons#1999_Tour

    Then you’ll see what happens if you speak. Same for Kimmage. People have been speaking, but you couldn’t hear them over Virenque commentating. If 10 riders active and respected riders were to speak against doping, it would be hard for people to not hear, but those “respected” riders usually did some needle time and don’t have the courage to lie (like Armstrong did).

    1. Add the Andreus. It was the better part of 10 years of torment from all kinds of people in the sport for just telling the truth.

      Besides doing the right thing, what did it get them? Lawyer bills.

      1. Yea, Greg LeMond is returning to fame after being off the camera for a long time mostly because:

        In July 2001, LeMond criticized Lance Armstrong for associating with Michele Ferrari, an Italian physician and sports trainer who admitted to practicing blood doping and advocated the controlled use of the banned substance erythropoietin by athletes. Ferrari has been accused by professional cyclists of providing banned substances.

        We have examples of people speaking out loud against this, but not much has happened, you still have dumb Italian riders who use EPO in 2013 and return racing in 2015.

  12. Matt,

    Watched you race for many years. Even with EPO you could never have finished a GT. You cant hold a wheel through a corner or even with a puff of sidewind. But go on, keep deluding yourself, along with Lee.

    1. And yet, nothing about the claims he made in the article. If you are so knowledgeable, then please comment directly on his claims. Because I’d like to read something other than personal attacks.

    1. Matt – you never rode a grand tour so its a moot point as you don’t know wether you could have finished or not – having a pissing contest against someone who has clearly got their own agenda will serve no purpose other than to discredit you so imo do yourself a favour and avoid the testosterone rush 🙂

  13. How does one draw the line between a perfectly legal, acceptable PED, and an unacceptable, illegal PED? Is there some quantifiable line that can be drawn based upon empirical evidence as to what specific gains a particular substance/drug will produce? That’s my problem with the whole war on PEDs — it seems like there’s an arbitrary line being drawn in the sand, but where and why that line is being drawn doesn’t exactly seem to be evident.

    PEDs are simply another form of technology. There are plenty of other supplements, substances, drugs, etc that improve performance, and, for lack of a better term, biologically enhance human beings. These drugs are considered perfectly legal and ‘okay’ to consume. Even something as simple as diet and training regimen has an impact on your physical performance and biological makeup. The whole idea of a level playing field seems silly to me. It’s largely impossible for a slew of reasons, and will never exist. Is that “unfair”? I suppose so, but it’s inherent with the territory.

    What about technological improvements to bikes and equipment? Skin-suits, aerodynamic helmets, time trial bars, carbon fiber frames/lighter frames in general, etc, etc. When certain riders took advantage of these advancements in technology, there was an uproar with regard to unfairness and cheating. Yet we’ve come to accept them as a commonplace in the sport. So what should we allow and disallow?

    I can understand why Cooke is bitter and upset over the fact that these individuals cheated. They broke a rule that arguably gave them some advantage, so on that principle alone (the principle of cheating the established rules), I can understand his frustration. But I really think we’re missing the forest for the trees, and entirely limiting the conversation if we focus on the moral aspect of this. There’s a much more relevant discussion to be had about PEDs in an objective sense, about athletic technology, etc.

    1. PEDs are simply another form of technology.
      Oh really? Ok, Ben. Ben your hypothetical daughter/son is discovered to be a cycling phenom with a VO2 max rivaling Voss/Lemond in your hypothetical world. Since doping is just technology:
      When do you start the HGH+Testosterone injections on your child? 13? 15?
      What is the EPO cycle you give to your child. 13? 16? She/he will have to be on it by 19.
      When do you start the blood transfusions on your child? Where are you keeping the blood?
      When do you give permission to your child to administer his/her own injections? 17? 18?

      Because it’s just technology Ben. Right? It’s cool to dope your own kid. As a teenager. Because a natural will not be competitive in your “just technology” doping world.

      My guess is, talking about it is one thing, but making it personal suddenly changes your opinion. Please, tell us your plans.

      1. “When do you start the HGH+Testosterone injections on your child? 13? 15?
        What is the EPO cycle you give to your child. 13? 16? She/he will have to be on it by 19.
        When do you start the blood transfusions on your child? Where are you keeping the blood?
        When do you give permission to your child to administer his/her own injections? 17? 18?”

        I would never begin to do any of those things, and to infer from my post that I would is to interpret my words inaccurately.

        I think you’re drawing some incredibly inaccurate inferences based on my post.

        I don’t currently have kids, and if/when the day comes that I do, I would never personally encourage them to dope, nor would I play an active role in the process if they chose to. It seems as if you’re assuming, based on my post, that I’m in favor of doping. In that regard you’re assuming inaccurately. I don’t claim to be in favor of, nor against “doping”. I’m simply pointing out that there are objective issues surrounding the topic (doping, PEDs, performance enhancement, technology in general, etc) that have yet to be addressed.

        “Because it’s just technology Ben. Right?”

        Yes, it is technology. Obviously it’s not “just technology”, and I never said it was. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if things were that simple.

        “It’s cool to dope your own kid. As a teenager. Because a natural will not be competitive in your “just technology” doping world.”

        Again, you’re putting words in my mouth.
        I never said it was “just technology”, I did say that it was a form of technology, an objective and indisputable fact. Furthermore, I never said it was cool to dope my kid, or anyone else’s kid, for that matter. Why you inferred that from my post is beyond me.

        “My guess is, talking about it is one thing, but making it personal suddenly changes your opinion. Please, tell us your plans.”

        My plans? I don’t currently have any as I’m no longer actively involved with the sport. When I was involved with racing, I never doped. So I don’t currently have any “plans” to speak of, but thanks for your interest.

        Unfairly and inaccurately taking my post out-of-context and making it “personal” really changes nothing, as my post wasn’t relevant to anything you attempted to make it relevant to. I suggest you re-read my original post and try to get a better idea of its nature and what it’s addressing. It certainly isn’t pro-doping as you seem to think.

      2. There’s a much more relevant discussion to be had about PEDs in an objective sense, about athletic technology,
        Oh, there is…. Until it gets personal. And then all of a sudden it’s a whole other topic.

        The consequences of turning doping into a “purely intellectual exercise” is it puts a block under the door that’s already been kicked open by indifferent sports federations like the UCI and USAC. Ruin an athlete’s health under USAC’s protection from never testing positive and mysteriously USAC then blames the victim. See Tammy Thomas’ story.

        How does one draw the line between a perfectly legal, acceptable PED, and an unacceptable, illegal PED?
        This is WADA’s job and they do it by funding research. They do the best they can with the paltry resources they have. Meanwhile athletes participate in totally uncontrolled human experimentation.

  14. Our conservative values are interfering with our desire to see superhuman performances.
    I have a great idea, lets make F1 teams all use the same unmodified 4 cylinder engines. It would be very fair racing at half the speed. Exciting?..not so much. Open it up already and stop trying to be who want to be, not who we are.

    1. Superhuman performances don’t need to be artificially modified by drugs and human beings are not manufactured machines so unfortunately your not comparing apples with apples so to speak

    2. I’m guessing you did not follow the sport pre-EPO. Here’s a sample of what non-EPO racing looks like:

      Grand Tour podium champions aggressively fighting for WC podium, sprinting like scalded cats.

    3. Your F1 analogy is way off the mark. In F1 they all get the opportunity to develop the best car they want. Even if PEDs were allowed – they shouldn’t be but if they were – they affect different people differently. In one person they’ll create a super-human cyclist, in someone else not much better than a normal cyclist. Not only that but the long term effects are relatively unknown – heard of Flo-Jo by any chance and what happened to her??

      1. Forget the F1 analogy then. There is even a drug tested bodybuilding class. But non-tested bodybuilding is a sport of consenting adults that use drugs to archive the best performance. (& higher ratings I imagine) Its a pay to play world of professional sports.

  15. Matt spoke about those junior riders who were doped by Chris Carmichael. Some of those riders were on my trade team at the time and asked us to never let them go to Europe with USAC Chris Carmichael and Rene Wenzel ever again. Because they didn’t want to be doped again. Rene and Chris wouldn’t even tell the riders what they were being given. We told USAC about this and Rene was fired and Chris Carmichael resigned the next year. Although USAC never stepped up and said why

    1. cp: Any advice to young kids looking to go pro, and/or to their parents?
      MC: If you like cycling go for it. Clean guys can win races these days. At least here in America they can, probably Europe too.

      Take out of the interview what you will but if you want to take Matts opinion on things perhaps don’t forget the above 🙂

    1. Really ?!?! you can’t contribute to a discussion without making irrelevant personal comments ?!?!? Says more about you unfortunately with a comment like that than it would ever about him 😦

  16. Excellent work, Crankpunk. Matt, good luck in your job search, I’d hire you in a second, if I were in a position to do so. This interview needs to be spread wide and far. The sport is still in a dark place, and teetering on the brink of going back to the all out cheating days. The pressure needs to stay on.

    1. Right because there has never been any articles / books / movies about doping ever so one interview on a blog will “change the doping landscape”, the powers that run the sport will have emergency meetings and the cycling world will mark this interview down as the turning point that saved the sport ! when will people wake up and realise that unfortunately this will not change a single thing except to give Matt a forum to vent and give his opinion on what happened to him – I mean no offence Lee you have done a good job in what you have done I am more referring to the ignorance of some people in the comments living with the false hope that more of these interviews will suddenly change the doping problem. When the general population who don’t follow the sport already think that everyone is doping anyways then clearly everyone involved in the sport has heard stories similar to this over and over again. We are already aware of the problem so the net effect of highlighting individuals will not resolve the situation at all – basic human psychology will always mean that there will be those seeking a short cut to success so I don’t believe we will ever completely eradicate it and I wish people would put this interview into the proper context.

  17. The importance of Matt’s unique perspective cannot be underestimated. So often we hear statements such as,” The dopers took positions, winnings, opportunities, etc. from the clean guys,” but rarely do we get concrete examples to help us internalize those statements . Matt gave us just that by naming particular races, moments, etc., that effected not only his results, but his self-esteem as a professional cyclist. We need more of this dialogue from current or ex-racers. At this point what we have is a beautifully outlined tattoo that still needs to be shaded and colored.

    I also believe we need to make the ongoing scientific discoveries regarding PEDs and the way they permanently enhance a riders biology–even after the rider has stopped using– part of the general discourse, in an effort to get guys like Tom Danielson and Hesjedal out of the game permanently.

    Ultimately, we can’t change the past, but we certainly can, with a united and concerted effort, change the way people view those who made the past something we want to forget. David Millar is presently being treated like cycling royalty, Van De Velde commentated this years Tour De France, people pay big bucks to wear Hincappie’s clothing, Danielson is still racing and being heralded for his recent performances. Why? Well that is a question for psychologists, philosophers, and social theorists, and should not concern us. What should concern us is adding more and more relevant information to the discourse, in hopes of making it both logically and emotionally impossible for cycling fans to continue to support and embrace cheaters. This article has done a good job of helping achieve that.

    Nice job Lee. Thanks.

  18. Thanks for speaking honestly in this interview. It’s irrational that bike racers don’t call for a stop to this, but too many people lust for success. I am the same age as LA, Julich, McCrae, etc. so I came up in the USCF national team system with Jemison, Baker, Livingston, Rodriguez, and Hincapie. I quit after 1993 because I sensed the glass ceiling, had seen lower-level Belgian pros pushing suppositories up their butts 30km from the end of stages in the Milk Race, and began to wonder if I was just not as good as I’d imagined when I had early promise as a junior and young amateur. (I also had a vision of doing something with my life that would actually benefit other people–I was miserably self-centered as an athlete; not everyone becomes a jerk like I was.) When I later saw that someone like Rodriguez, who was a nothing like me in the Tour DuPont and Settimana Bergamasca, was now winning a Giro stage, it was like a bad dream. I am so relieved I left the sport when I did, since it is obvious that I could have had no career in Europe without being willing to dope. Now that more clarity has come out, I realized that the racing really is corrupt; I had just pretended that it was sport and winning was sometimes possible. I disagree with Matt that winning clean in Europe is possible. I am completely suspicious, the only exception being Taylor Phinney.

  19. You Matt is exactly like the ones who take drugs, you will not reveal everything you know because it goes beyond your friends are still riding a bike, welcome to the world of doping

  20. Thanks for your candid comments, Matt. I have a few friends who had their careers cut short by the situation you described- Todd Littlehales and John Walrod, National caliber cyclists who also were robbed of placings, cash, and promotions by cheaters. As a life-long bike industry grizzled vet, it’s too easy for me to appreciate the extra $$$ that Lance Armstrong helped put in my pocket, as well as help making the streets safer for all of us to ride on, without being one of the riders who was ripped off or life ruined. For most of us, it’s a different perspective than what you would have.

    1. What about the gear/bikes/clothes Matt Cooke took from Tyler Hamilton when his house burned down? Wouldn’t that be considered “STOLEN.” Or maybe the fact that you roomed with a known doper for YEARS. You are a huge hyprocrite that only dislikes dopers when it’s convenient for him.

  21. I think people are being unfair to demand that someone like Matt name names in an interview such as this. To what end? The accused will deny, Matt can’t “prove” anything unless he was walking around with a hidden camera and a wire, and he may get sued for his candor. It may be titillating for us to see a former rider calling out cheats, but it is not productive. That said, I would certainly hope Matt is/has been willing to name names in private if contacted by USADA who whomever. Flagging dopers in that contract actually makes a difference, and comes with an expectation of anonymity which should allow Matt to avoid the personal and financial fallout of being a whistleblower.

  22. Maybe it’s just me but I see no real point in offering high praise for Matt Cooke because he spoke out, nor do I see value in tearing him down because he’s bitter. He’s offered nothing in this interview beyond what everyone who follows the sport already knows. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the storyline that guys who doped cheated guys who didn’t, and it’s not particularly additive to say “Well, I was in Race X and Rider A beat me…so there’s *real* evidence of one time when a clean rider was cheated.” Yeah, we get it, and it would be easy enough for most of us to fashion a list of dozens of races where the same situation played out. Still, Cooke has every right to feel bitter and betrayed by those circumstances, even if he comes off as a bit of a whiner

    Seriously, it’s a bit short of the mark to say at one point, “Well I am not racing any more so I’m not too worried about that [being labeled a troublemaker]” and also say just a few breaths away, “There are some things I am afraid to say because there are powerful people in the sport that would give me a hard time. Not physically but we have mutual friends and I don’t want there to be tension.” If you’re going to call out others for not being pure as the driven snow in an era where the sport was riddled with corruption and some (a lot) of people made bad decisions, then you better be prepared to open Pandora’s box all the way if you’re going to climb up on your pedestal.

    And look what else Matt likes to blur the lines on: a doper like Vaughters shouldn’t be in the sport and it’s “unbelievable” that people actually like Levi but it’s “commendable” that Hincapie is sponsoring young guys because he isn’t coaching them. *Commendable* that he’s spending his ill-gotten financial gains to sponsor riders–the very same ill-gotten financial gains Cooke lamented against as “stolen.” WTF? Where’s the line here? It just sounds like Cooke wants to complain, logic be damned.

    And, of course, I love the irony that Cooke decries the culture of doping apologists in the context of cycling journalists as “terrible…fan boys” who aren’t any different than other fans who “just want to be around famous people”—all on a site where the editor highlights his career with photos of himself with Eddy Merckx (doper) and stories of racing alongside people like Boonen (doper) and Schleck (doper).

    1. You seem frustrated man. If I may offer a suggestion: be part of the solution. Notice I didn’t say,”Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” The reason being, you aren’t part of the problem; in fact, you aren’t really anything. People like you simply use these forums to vent, to try and tear people down–to hate! At least pay Lee and the rest of us around here the respect of not using his site as a sounding board– if you are going to speak, say something worth listening to. Indeed, what’s hackneyed is not this interview, but your response to it– fruitless, trite, and logically flawed.

      1. We are all only offering up opinions mate did you expect or want to only read comments that agree with everything said by Matt and Lee ?! If people don’t want to read opinions they don’t agree with then they really shouldn’t put up a comments section at all or perhaps just have a like button because they can’t or won’t step outside their own bubble of reality – its incredible hypocrisy to call someone out as venting when you in fact vent yourself to someone who has vented over someone else who has vented ! 🙂

      2. What’s hackneyed is the idea that you believe the simple act of sharing a different opinion is disrespectful. I thought I took a pretty centrist view, but apparently that doesn’t live up to the fashionable activity in cycling circles, which is to hoist up onto an ivory tower any cyclist who says he’s clean and then cries foul over all the ways he’s been wronged by others who were doping. Please, by his own admission he knew long ago that he was riding against guys who were doped. And what did he do then? Did he speak up? Nope, he waited until he was out of the sport and, by his own admission, had nothing left to lose. That’s not exactly what I would call courageous and certainly not heroic.

        So, hey, go ahead and give credit to Matt Cooke for speaking out if that’s your cup of tea. But if you’re so focused on the solution, what exactly has Matt Cooke brought to the table here? A bitch session about people we already know are/were dopers? A few veiled comments about maybe naming people who are still riding and aren’t necessarily known to be dopers? A suggestion that dopers should be banned for 4 years instead of 2? Wow. Somehow I don’t think we’re solving the sport’s problems from anything gleaned in this interview.

  23. Uhhh, I don’t think you know what the word “vent” means. Why don’t you look that up real quick and get back with us.

    1. exactly ! its subjective in its interpretation and I don’t need to look it up. So how about we all respect each others opinion and right to comment – don’t want a sounding board don’t put up a comments section – just want “yes I agree” comments then state we just want yes comments – but come on jeff how hypocritical is to say to matt “People like you simply use these forums to vent” when the whole interview was pretty much a vent – and tell me exactly how it is that you are “part of the solution” as you seem willing to ask of others? – and stop being arrogant enough to think that just because you don’t think someone is worth listening to others won’t find them worth listening to.

      Now all that being said perhaps you can actually qualify “fruitless, trite, and logically flawed” with some actual counter points to disprove what was said, you know like some actual counter argument rather than just throw stones and say go away 🙂

      1. Lets not lose sight of the big picture here–and the point of this interview–which is to effect changes that might positively influence the sport of cycling. You may not like Matt Cooke personally, but you have to agree that his message is what is important, not the messenger. What is the point of making ad hominem attacks on him and trying to expose flaws in his arguments? It seems sophomoric to me, petty, and “fruitless.” If you care anything about the sport, you welcome such commentary–if you don’t, well then, just keep up with the negativity and then wonder why everyone keeps quiet.

      2. To Jeff’s point on not losing sight of the big picture: I think we all want to promote anything that positively influences the sport of cycling and, as specifically pertains to Matt Cooke’s interview, helps combat the problem of doping. But I don’t read Matt’s message as simply one of, “Let’s improve testing, catch the cheaters, and ban them from the sport.” He’s just shy of arguing that anyone caught doping should be ostracized–forever it seems–and not only should they have no involvement in the sport, but nobody should even so much as express that they like being around that person (I guess doping means you can’t be an otherwise nice/funny/good-natured person any longer). That kind of burn-them-at-the-stake mentality not only goes against human nature–believe it or not, most people have the ability to compartmentalize things and parse that a bad act doesn’t necessarily taint the entire person–but it fails to recognize that some of those former dopers might just have something valuable to contribute to the sport. I’d be far from the first to argue that experience and perspective, particularly from someone who can explain what not to do because they’ve made those errors, is useful. But, no, in Matt Cooke’s eyes they’re just thieves and cheats who no longer possess any redeeming qualities and, dammit, his opinion is right because he missed out on opportunities to be a cycling superstar because in his mind he was just that naturally gifted. Put that argument in any other facet of life and it sound exactly like what it is: a whine. And that’s why it’s important to expose flaws in Cooke’s arguments…unless, of course, you just like to slurp up whatever is spoon-fed to you.

        This sport got screwed up because people were willing to keep their mouths shut and not speak out against cheaters. Now the pendulum is swinging the other way and it’s at risk of being just as screwed up because too many people are ready to devour anyone who has even the slightest blemish. Look yourselves in the mirror and ask if you could ever be judged by such strict standards.

  24. I’m all for positively influencing the sport of cycling so perhaps we will have to see exactly what this interview achieves because I don’t believe it will achieve anything beyond giving matt and lee a platform to vent – thats not personal at all because I would say about anyone who has said what was said and what you perceive as negativity is what I call reality – what he has said to CIRC or whomever however may effect some degree of change retrospectively at a micro level so yeah that is a positive (no pun intended 🙂 ) – I am a believer in fact and not speculation or emotion so forgive me if I question the blatantly open holes in his arguments about how it affected him personally, or more accurately the degree to which it affected him personally – like I have said previously I do have some empathy for the guy because I genuinely wouldn’t want to see anyone as angry and bitter as he appears to be over this but there is a very healthy dose of over dramatisation to fit a narrative.

    Jeff with regards to me wondering why everyone keeps quiet – doesn’t overly concern me mate its a tiny fraction of my life so if someone wants to have a discussion then great and if not no problem. I have followed the sport for over 20 years so it’s probably safe to say that yes I do care about the sport quite a lot but i will say it again – I don’t care for people using something as the sole excuse for not achieving something thereby labelling everyone else by default a cheat because they did progress, assuming they know all about and vocalising what someone in a different profession i.e media should and shouldn’t be doing as part of their job and baiting them on twitter – in essence what Matt K said if your going to pop off at others then you better be sure your own shit don’t stink (liberal paraphrasing their) because I can’t stand hypocrisy

    1. I think when someone posts informative articles, interviews, etc on THEIR blog and is gracious enough to allow YOU to comment you don’t have to agree with them but you should show them and their guests a certain amount of respect. But that’s just me.

      1. what prey tell is a certain amount of respect? this is also very subjective. Do you mean like some of the wording in the responses to me? not that they bothered me one little bit – so no-one that disagrees with anything is allowed to comment? is this blog hosted in China? once again do they just want cheerleaders and not different perspectives or discussion? – its a blog with a comments section, I haven’t sworn, I have overly attacked anyone personally, and if you don’t think that in some way any comment posted contributes to traffic / views on this site then perhaps you don’t understand part of what any blog is trying to achieve – if you don’t want people to comment on something then restrict the access, disagree with me if you like thats normal and healthy but please don’t preach to me about who I should pay respect to – I respect that Lee took the time and made the effort to create a blog, I respect the fact that Matt took the time to answer Lees questions, I respect the fact that when someone decided to get personal towards Matt I suggested that imo, but obviously at his discretion, that responding to the troll like comment by someonewhocares probably was a waste of time and had a go at gangsta’s disrespectful comment as well. I have respected everyone on here that I have discussed this with by attempting to have a conversation around the points made without resorting to swearing, name calling etc. Forgive me if i find it a little high and mighty to be told that this is SOMEONES blog and oh wow they are allowing ME to comment as it looks like its no different to every other comments section on every blog / website that offers a comments section – the only difference here is that there is a very clear narrative to this site and this interview which I don’t 100% agree with but still respect everyones right to an opinion – so why single me out when there are plenty of others that have been a lot less respectful in their comments? Mate I have to say so far you have singled out both Matt K and I who have taken the time to raise valid questions and your yet to actually provide any counter points to what we have raised other than to point out that you disagree so if you want to debate the points then fine, if not then how about showing us some respect and allowing us to provide our comments and if Crankpunk has a problem (seeing as it is actually their blog not yours) then I am happy to discuss with them.

        Ultimately we are all after the same thing – reduce the cheating as much as possible so please don’t forget that either

  25. I didn’t single out anyone. I simply responded to a comment made by Matt K that referenced a previous post I had made. You then chimed in to defend him. He was the one I thought was being disrespectful to Lee in the last paragraph of his post. He didn’t even have the nuts to address him directly, but referred to him as “the editor.” By approving of that post the way you did you are guilty by direct association. The bottom line is, if someone is saying something that isn’t true and your criticism helps bring the truth to light, then I commend you. But if someone says something and you refute it out of hand with no facts to the contrary, then what purpose have you served? An ex-professional racer came out and gave his unique perspective on a very serious problem and your friend responds here with a diatribe that concludes with a personal attack on Lee. If he wanted to serve the cause he would have respectfully asked Matt and Lee to explain some of the discrepancies he had noticed. That is respect.

    1. So you’re peeved that I didn’t call Lee by name, Jeff? Your bar for disrespect is awfully low…I’m surprised you don’t go ’round all day calling out people for stepping right over it in acts of what you perceive to be just plain horrid treatment of others. And, for the record, I wasn’t attacking Lee…I was simply pointing out that we’re reading a site with a strong anti-doping narrative, the interview in question pointed to journalists as fan boys, and–by golly–“the editor” (Lee…are you happy, Jeff?) highlights his career with stories and photos of his association, however slight, with known dopers. If you consider that an attack then perhaps you should consider if it’s because you don’t like the very real fact that there’s an odd juxtaposition in content and commentary. That’s your problem, though, and hardly cause for you to call me disrespectful.

      As for what I was “refuting” in Cooke’s interview, the only “facts” I needed to point out inconsistencies were his own comments–those sections tidily enclosed in quotes. If Lee or Matt Cooke want to respond or clarify, by all means they should do so. But it’s pretty weak sauce for you to suggest that I’m a disrespectful person simply because I didn’t preface my post with, “Dear Matt and Lee, I noticed some discrepancies in the interview below, which I will proceed to outline. Would you care to respond?”

      And since we’re on the topic of respect, would you care to comment again about my “nuts” or lack of?

      1. Matt Krebsbach, you’re a hell of a writer! I would love to hear a podcast of you and Matt Cooke talking, or possibly a written account of you interviewing him. I think the frustration and emotion that Cooke has makes it easy for you to see through the cracks, but ultimately my guess is that the two of you would have a very constructive conversation. I get the feeling you would talk him through a lot of this like a good psychologist would and make what he’s saying much harder to pick apart and therefore much more progressive for all involved.

        To the Matt’s (Cooke and Krebsbach) would you guys be willing to do a podcast or interview?

      2. To Joe Wiley: thanks for the compliment! As for the idea of doing an interview/podcast with the other Matt, I’m game. From my perspective–and even if it wasn’t me in the conversation–it would be great to have an actual back-and-forth presented where each party has an opportunity to push the other side to dig a bit deeper or explain more clearly.

      3. Nailing it mate ! Yes Jeff I am guilty by association because I agree with Matt K so what? I’m not allowed to agree with someone else yet people are able to agree with Lee or Matt Cooke, or even you?!? both of us have asked many questions that we would both love to get some answers on preferably from those involved i.e Lee and Matt C. I’m not sure if you are totally aware of how a comments section works by the way but the both of them have seen fit to comment, Matt C taking the bait from a troll and Lee to thank a couple of people for comments, so the implied observation would be that they able to comment on our questions if they choose to do so and if not then that is entirely their prerogative.

        And for the record – on one level I find it very hard to respect someone who has now resorted to sending tweets such as the following;

        Dave Towle you blocked me. Dude you suck. I guess you like cheaters more than clean guys. Someone RT this for me @davedtowle

        @mikequick_sd @iamspecialized @RoadID @ClifBar Pretty dumb to sponsor Levi guys. Your marketing dept sucks.

        But hey maybe thats just me.

  26. “…it would be great to have an actual back-and-forth presented where each party has an opportunity to push the other side to dig a bit deeper or explain more clearly.”

    For what its worth, I totally agree.

  27. i sent this to Matt as pre-written Qs as he preferred that, however i won’t do it again in this way as there is no back and forth going on. i also disagree with the Hincapie comments and they are anomalous. the fact too that Matt states that he is coming out with this because he is retiring and the fear of upsetting the apple cart also deserve scrutiny.

    1. Clearly its a complex and robust area of discussion Lee but I think we can all at least agree on one thing in that no-one wants the doping – just an idea, perhaps a chat conversation using something like FB messenger between you and whomever you interview may be an option – let it “sit on ice” for a couple of days as no doubt there will be fair amount of emotion involved and then agree what should and shouldn’t be posted to the blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s