Saturday, October 31, 2009

Evans Says "Ciao!" (or was it "Ciao Eikel!"?) to Silence-Lotto

"World road champion Cadel Evans is opting not to renew is contract with Silence-Lotto, but is being silent, so far, on what team he will ride with in 2010." More.

Three words: "Good for you, Cadel. Screw Silence-Lotto." (OK, so that was about seven words.) Interesting discussion about Evans's move here in the Forums. I especially like Dimspace's take on the matter:

"Does that mean, now hes world champion and has won ONE race he thinks he is deserving of more money and lotto told him to stuff it..." LOL.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

[UPDATED with WADA Code Details] Geoff Kabush - Trafficking in Drugs "sounds like a pretty good deal to me."

It's great to know that cycling still has professional athletes like Geoff Kabush of Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain  who are willing to recount their days of trading marijuana for food with such fondness, that, even if he or any other athlete in cycling was found with marijuana in his system - let alone on his person - he'd be looking at his first ban from competition, and maybe some jail time depending on where it happened. Hey Geoff! You're not very smart! Bravo for encouraging other 15 year-old cyclists to work for dope and trade it for food. You ignorant fool. The only people possibly more ignorant than you are 1) Your Sponsors (see bar to left for listing of companies sponsoring Geoff) and 2)'s Editor(s) for publishing your happy-go-lucky little dope story where you wrote:

"...It really is a magical island even when you are not smoking anything like a lot of the locals. One of my favourite stories is from around age 15 when I was doing trailwork on Hornby. In exchange for helping out for the day I was given a joint; Hornby is a bit of a hippy island and a joint was pretty much like cash. I don't smoke and I was hungry so I headed down to the local gathering place, the Co-op store. It seemed pretty normal at the time that I just traded the joint with some dude for a burrito. Still sounds like a pretty good deal to me..."

Maybe when Geoff writes, "magical island," he means the kind of place that ADA testers can't get to for purposes of performing targeted tests. Anyway, Geoff, good to know that trading banned substances still sounds like a pretty good deal to you in 2009, one that you're apparently happy to endorse in the eyes of any 15 year-old cyclists reading your diary on BTW everyone, you can follow Geoff on Twitter at:

And for the commentator who thinks that 15 year-old kids know the difference between weed and crack cocaine...guess what? There isn't any as far as in-competition prohibition in concerned:



Oh look...they're both prohibited in-competition. And as another commentator kindly pointed out (copying and pasting the information from the WADA Code, I would think), trading dope for work for food could involve you in scenarios that saw you rumbled for:

Article 2: Anti-Doping Rule Violations

2.6 Possession of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods

2.6.1 Possession by an Athlete In-Competition of any Prohibited Method or any Prohibited Substance, or Possession by an Athlete Out-of-Competition of any Prohibited Method or any Prohibited Substance which is prohibited Out-of-Competition unless the Athlete establishes that the Possession is pursuant to a therapeutic use exemption granted in accordance with Article 4.4 (Therapeutic Use) or other acceptable justification.

2.6.2 Possession by an Athlete Support Personnel In-Competition of any Prohibited Method or any Prohibited Substance, or Possession by an Athlete Support Personnel Out-of-Competition of any Prohibited Method or any Prohibited Substance which is prohibited Out-of-Competition in connection with an Athlete, Competition or training, unless the Athlete Support Personnel establishes that the Possession is pursuant to a therapeutic useexemption granted to an Athlete in accordance with Article 4.4 (Therapeutic Use) or other acceptable justification.

[Comment to Article 2.6.1 and 2.6.2: Acceptable justification would not include, for example, buying or Possessing a Prohibited Substance for purposes of giving it to a friend or relative, except under justifiable medical circumstances where that Person had a physician’s prescription, e.g., buying Insulin for a diabetic child.]

2.7 Trafficking or Attempted Trafficking in any Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method

2.8 Administration or Attempted administration to any Athlete In-Competition of any Prohibited Method or Prohibited Substance, or administration or Attempted administration to any Athlete Out-of-Competition of any Prohibited Method or any Prohibited Substance that is prohibited Out-of-Competition, or assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up or any other type of complicity involving an anti-doping rule violation or any Attempted anti-doping rule violation.

Again, it doesn't matter if he smoked pot or not. He reports that in 2009, after all those years to reflect, he still believes it was a good decision and a good deal to do trail work in exchange for marijuana, and then to trade that marijuana for food. And as a role model for I'm sure dozens of eager young teenage mountain bikers, to relay this story to the world via is indicative of a high degree of irresponsibility - especially given today's anti-doping climate.

Two Questions

1. Who knew that half a Bahraini Dinar would almost buy you a 20-oz bottle of Sierra Mist at Uni-Mart?

2. And why don't people ride Cinelli bikes much anymore?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Andre Agassi is a Lying Drugs Cheat - but Just Tell Us - Is THIS Why He Lost his Hair?

In an article by Times Online Tennis Correspondent, Neil Harman, he reports that:

"Andre Agassi makes the sensational confession today that he lied to the tennis authorities to escape a ban for taking hard drugs.

The American, one of the finest players to grace the game, tested positive for the highly addictive drug, crystal methamphetamine, and then duped [Editor's Note: "Duped" = "Lied to"] the Association of Tennis Professionals into believing he had taken it by accident [Editor's Note: Sure, right].

The admissions come in a soul-searching autobiography that is being serialised exclusively today and tomorrow in The Times..." Continued.... [Meaning continue reading this shit if you're a cycling fan who is SICK of seeing first the careers of top cyclists ruined, then THEIR LIVES extinguished by drugs - but you somehow believe that you can stomach Agassi's getting-off SCOTT-FREE!].

FUCK ME! If Agassi was a pro cyclist trying to EKE OUT A LIVING making 30-50k euros a year and racing 80-100 days per season, Pat McQuaid and co. would subject the poor bastard to that especially gruesome form of Royal Navy torture, Tying Neck and Heels, whereby the victim, sitting on deck, has one musket placed between their knees and another behind their neck. The firearms would be so tightly strung together, exerting such pressure on the body that blood woudl flow from the nose and ears.

They would also serve he with a two-year ban (which will probably be extended to four in a few months, attempt to force him to repay a year's wages, threaten any team that even hinted at wanting to hire him after his ban expired and basically would do everything in their power to prevent him from every supporting himself and his family through his sport.

Agassi probably benefits from some statute of limitations that will prevent his prosecution, but if he didn't, I guarantee you I would bully my way onto the talk show circuit and denounce that lying, scumbag, piece-of-shit to one an all. Oh, and I'm SURE that he had only ONE SNORT of crystal meth and that was it - never again. Well, maybe he never abused that drug, but that one line proved he had the capability to break the rules of law and men, and quite possibly abuse performance enhancing drugs that benefit tennis players such as steroids, HGH, IGF-1, EPO, Corticosteroids, etc.

I hope he did break some law and if forced to lose all of his titles back to the date he admits his first injection/snort of meth and is crucified - just like we've all been.

Doping and Doping and Still More Doping - or just the New Nigerian Scam?

This fine bit of marketing arrived via email tonight. Anyone else get the same pitch? And if so, how did we get on their mailing list? They culled the UCI banned rider list from the last decade? All spelling/grammar errors remain uncorrected by your correspondent:

"We have contact with a couple of pharmacies that have access to WATSON SEALED 100ct BOTTLES. If you want smaller ammounts they will come in the smaller bottles not sealed.

All people that have sent in money and have not recieved their package wil lbe getting this product. Not the vicoden. I am sorry for the delays, the doctors were getting new accounts for medications.

Here is the mailing address.

Mail Room
POB box 206
1543 US Hwy 98 S
Lakeland fl 33801

[NOTE: Think THAT's a good idea for you, Mr. Consumer?]

  • $440 / 100 count
  • $880 / 200 count
  • $1320 / 300 count
  • $1760 / 400 count
  • 40.00 shipping
DISCLAIMER: I'm not encouraging you to buy this shit from the Internet. Much of it is fake, all of it is illegal without a legit prescription from a US doctor (is you live in USA) and it could leave you afoul of USADA's rules should you be called in or out of competition to pee for the testers (plus land you in jail).

BUT, if you have serious pain and you need to address it and racing is not in the picture, do not let your DEA-scared doctor refuse to prescribe you the pain medicine you need. Tylenol is for headaches...if you've shattered a knee or were shot or have chronic lower back pain, sometimes these meds are what you need to manage the pain during the healing process. Opiate dependency is an ugly thing, but so is chronic pain that significantly impacts your life- for the negative. As long as you're not drug-seeking, do your research and be willing to show your doc - who may, in fact, have been incentivzed to write for a particular product - that you want to be involved in the process because you strongly desire to improve the quality of your life. And if he is not willing to let you be an active participant, find a new doctor. Having been in the "health care" system as an athlete for so many years now, the spread between world-class surgeons and GP's who can't even remember your name is profound. Don't assume that the doctor is looking out for you - you need to look out for you first.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quote of the Week: Doping in Sunny Spain

"With the scare from the Tour I had enough. Fortunately I am not ambitious and didn't take any of the stuff you sent to me - you were on the verge of sending me to unemployment and ruining my career... I won't pay a single euro anymore."

And I thought the Kelme guys were just kidding.

Full story here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

From the Archives: 1990? (1991?) Revco-Cleveland Criterium

Name the Riders! This photo, along with others, appears in a vintage album of mine of Facebook...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

From the Blogosphere: Frank Vandenbroucke is Dead

by Braze-on Dropout, whacksonville
2009 October 14

"How long will you continue to ride on a rim, knowing full well there is a crack forming around an eyelet? Will you give up on the rim right away and never ride it again? Will you replace the whole wheel even though the hub and spokes are fine? Maybe you have the money and you’d rather not worry about even the slightest possibility of sudden rim failure. In that case, I’m glad you are so financially secure. Make sure your cast-off parts go to someone who can use them.

But maybe you can’t afford a new wheel or even a new rim. Or maybe you don’t believe in giving up on equipment that still functions, even if there is no way of knowing how much longer the equipment will continue to function. You’ll have to keep riding that cracked rim. Will it make you paranoid? Will you monitor the crack constantly to see if it gets bigger? Will you take it easier than usual, trying to prolong the life of the rim? Or will you push it to the extreme to truly test the rim’s integrity?

How far from home will you ride on a cracked rim? Further than you can walk? Further than someone would drive to pick you up? How much faith will you put in your damaged equipment? Will you count on a cracked rim to get you everywhere you need to go? Will your cracked rim change your ideas about where you need to go? Or will you put your rim and yourself out to pasture, relegated to a life of nostalgia and longing?

Will you try to save the rim with epoxy? Will you continue applying the epoxy even after it becomes evident that the crack cannot be stopped? What will you do when a nipple finally pulls through?

Frank Vandenbroucke’s cracked rim was in his brain. He probably did not notice the crack at first. How much did it grow before he became aware of it? Certainly he must have figured it out before we did. Frank pushed himself beyond the limits the crack in his brain could endure. When he showed signs of failure we were disappointed, but we pushed him harder. Selfishly, we demanded that Frank perform at the level we had seen him perform at before the crack was visible. We ignored Frank’s damage. Now Frank Vandenbroucke is dead.

A person is not a piece of bicycle equipment. Unlike bike parts, damaged human parts often cannot be replaced or repaired. When a human is damaged beyond repair, we lose them for good. So long, VDB."

[Editor's Note: This interesting analogy on the collapse of VDB was unlike any I'd read before. Whilst researching commentaries on VDB's funeral I discovered it, and thought it quite worthy of sharing with you all. I hope you find it a compelling read. The author is Braze-on Dropout, from the blog: whacksonville. Perhaps one day he will honor us with an official guest post. But until then, Pappillon will tempt him with fame and fortune, and his name in lights!]

Yo, Un-Named Media, VDB was laid to rest yesterday!

Thank god for (never thought I'd say that after 2006), which had the decency to cover the funeral of VDB yesterday., however, couldn't be bothered to even note that VDB was interred in the family crypt and finally put to rest.

I happened to have an 11 year-old copy of VeloNews by my desk, because it was the first one in which my writing was paid for and published. And ironically, that issue also contained the 1998 Paris-Nice coverage. Well, needless to say, we know who won: VDB - but if you read the article, and the headlines from that issue of VN, and then compared it to the disdain, disrespect and utter contempt with which VN covered VDB's death, if you are a fan of the sport, it's traditions and know of the world before The Lance, I would hope that their conducts disgusts and revolts you, or at least makes you angry.

Fine, Cyclingnews did a great job covering the funeral. But VeloNews - CN's erst-while competitor - didn't even mention it!!! That ****es me off to no end. Irrational or not, it really ****es me off. In fact, despite all of the ongoing VDB-like drama in my own life (Which I thankfully keep behind closed doors), I spent an hour last night writing a letter to "The Editor" at VN taking them to task for the coverage they gave VDB when they described him as "Belgium’s new star *Vandenbroucke* unbeatable in Race to the Sun." (VeloNews Volume 27, Number 5, March 30, 1998)

Classic media opportunism...they devote hundreds of words to VDB when they want to crown him king-apparent, then, eleven years later, with his brilliance long-since tarnished by hardly-unusual scrapes with the doping police, and a fall from grace made ten-times worse by the mental illness from which VDB clearly suffered - the hijos de putas editing VeloNews on the weekends can't even note on their webpage that he had finally been laid to rest (and honored a who's-who of Belgian cycling, including Van Petegem, Museeuw and Patrick Lefevere).

If you want to read what I wrote and see the pictures, click here. If you're so inclined, use my letter as a template for writing your own, chastising VN. And if you think they did they RIGHT thing, or don't care about VDB and you feel like sharing that with me, bring it on: joe-at-joepapp-dot-com. Only in the cycling "press" in the United States would the funeral of a just-dead 34 year old former star of professional cycling not even be noted...

The Blogs did a better job covering and commenting on VDB's passing. Take this entry from Whacksonville.

Original Work: We flit amongst the stars in the Heavens

We flit amongst the stars in the Heavens
And skim the plane of the night and the dawn.
Ours is a magical existence dappled in Fortune's fair smile.
She looks over her children and protects their youthful radiance.
Mortals long for the treasure we embrace.
--Original Work by The Flandrian.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

RIP - VDB: The man whose talent Cut Short

Note: My letter to The VeloNews Editor appears at bottom of post. 

Wrote The Antwerp Gazette, in covering VDB:

"After a thrilling first career section sank the drop in a pool of scandals. A career as a yo-yo, a career highs with lows alternated. You did Vdb but on a bike to see the words are pure class in the mouth. Until the last years he found peace with himself again. As if it was so destined, he had to die as he lived. The rider who had cut short his talent. The man, who as a boy, was already a three letter word that world need no further explanation: VDB. Just 35 and not all killed in the field of honor. The question is: for whom?"

Maar je hoefde Vdb maar op een fiets te zien zitten om de woorden pure klasse in de mond te nemen. Pas het jongste jaar vond hij weer rust en vrede met zichzelf. Alsof het zo was voorbestemd, moest hij sterven zoals hij geleefd had. De renner die zijn talent kort liet knippen. De man die als jongen al een drieletterwoord werd dat wereldwijd geen  verdere uitleg behoefde: Vdb.  Net geen 35 en al gesneuveld op het veld van eer. De vraag is alleen: voor wie?

Le Soir, the Belgian newspaper, described Vandenbroucke as "an exceptional champion, probably the finest Belgian cyclist since Eddy Merckx, Frank Vandenbroucke lived too fast, without noticing it, on the inebriation of success."

As with the death of the 1998 Tour de France winner Marco Pantani – found dead in similar circumstances in February 2004 – Vandenbroucke's death was shocking, but not surprising, such has been the self-destructive trail he has blazed since he was first busted for drug-taking 10 years ago. His uncle Jean-Luc, who managed him when he turned professional in 1994, summed up the feelings of many in the milieu: "a half-surprise, unfortunately".

VDB...we never knew you...or did we? Who were you? I don't know, but I'll always choose to remember you as a winner, regardless of what was in the tank.

For more VDB Photos, go here.

Letter to The VeloNews Editor:

I thought I was done with this post, but I'm not. couldn't even be bothered to mention the fact that VDB's funeral took place today. Yet when he was an up-and-coming star they were happy to write about him. With respect to the media, I'm a cynic, but to not even mention the funeral of Frank Vandenbroucke is beyond cynical and poor journalism. It's shameful and foul, and requires that I write their "Editor" and call them on it...

Dear VeloNews:

I’m writing you on Saturday, October 24, 2009, at approximately 6:45PM EST to enquire as to why you’ve thus far failed to publish a report on (or even mention) the funeral of Frank Vandenbroucke, which was held today in Ploegsteert, Belgium. Elsewhere, we learn that VDB’s funeral was attended by a veritable who’s-who of the Belgian cycling world - Patrick Lefevere, Wilfried Peeters, Johan Museeuw, Leif Hoste and Peter Van Petegem were all in attendance, while VDB’s former Cofidis teammate Nico Mattan acted as a pallbearer. But this doesn’t even rate a mention on

In VeloNews Volume 27, Number 5, March 30, 1998, the headlines on the front cover above the VN masthead include “VDB’s Paris-Nice.” Inside, coverage of the “Race to the Sun” begins on page 12, with a half-page color photo of VDB, captioned, “INTO THE SPOTLIGHT Frank Vandenbroucke emerged from a background of promise, through the mist on the Col de la République, to clinch his first major stage race victory in Paris-Nice.” The article itself is titled “Belgium’s new star * Vandenbroucke* unbeatable in Race to the Sun.”

Yet today, eleven years since that first historic win by VDB – one that you were all too eager to cover at the time – you can’t manifest the common decency and respect to mention somewhere on your website that Vandenbroucke the man was finally at peace? Steve Hood wrote that Paris-Nice article for VeloNews, but in death VDB only merited a translated version of an Agence France Presse wire story on 12 October? Same for the follow-up reports on the cause of his untimely, tragic and senseless death – bland wire pieces?

Eleven years ago you dedicated hundreds of words to Vandenbroucke’s win. And yet today, you can’t even be bothered to mention that the man you then-hailed as “Belgium’s New Star” had finally been laid to rest, the weight of the hope of an entire nation finally off of his shoulders?



Friday, October 23, 2009

VDB to be interred tomorrow - VDB portal is ... appropriate

 Ciao, VDB.

Paul De Geyter: "Only Frank knows the truth"

Wie zeker niet zal ontbreken op Vdb's begrafenis is Paul De Geyter, zijn manager en vertrouwensman. Who will definitely not lacking in Vdb The Geyter Paul's funeral, his manager and trustee. De Geyter is ook peter van Margaux, Vdb's tweede dochter. The Geyter is also godfather of Margaux, Vdb's second daughter. "Alleen Frank weet wat er echt gebeurd is", zegt die in Het Nieuwsblad. "Only Frank knows what really happened", says in Het Nieuwsblad.

"Ik praatte van de week met advocaat Luc Deleu, die Senegal goed kent. Hij zei: "Waar Frank uitging, durf ik niet alleen te gaan. "I talked to the lawyer Luc Deleu week, who knows well Senegal. He said:" Where Frank went out, I dare not go alone. Dat is miserie zoeken."" This search is misery. "

"Waarschijnlijk had Frank te veel gedronken. En dan was hij een gemakkelijke prooi voor dat soort personages. Zo was ook zijn levensloop.' "Frank was probably too much to drink. And then he was an easy prey for such characters. This was his life."

'Zelfmoord sluit ik helemaal uit. "Suicide I close completely. Dat is een fabeltje. That is a myth. Dat leid ik af uit dingen die hij onlangs vertelde, voor hij naar Senegal vertrok. This I infer from things he said recently, before he left for Senegal. Hij had een nieuw huis en ik had nog tegels liggen die hij zou komen halen, bijvoorbeeld." He had a new house and I had tiles lying he would get, for example. "

This remains the best VDB tribute video...hauntingly beautiful.

Classic Photos

Found some vintage photos to add to my collection on FaceBook. The full album is here. If you click on the link and for some reason FB knocks you back and says that the content isn't available, then you might need to go through the laborious process of "friending" me (put "cycling" in the message), but in the end it will be worth it - I promise. Here are a few examples:

Sean Kelly wins 1992 MSR - Eurosport video coverage

The Dancing Girls of Mapei - OK!

Matt T. (Matt what was your last name?) getting funky @ 1994 Vuelta a Venezuela

Me sitting pretty on the French Riviera - nice hair/mop!

Juventud Rebelde y la información secuestrada

From Jorge Ferrer at El Tono de la Voz, comes this report on the opinion piece "Against the demons of kidnapped information” written by  José Alejandro Rodríguez, which appeared only briefly on the website of Juventud Rebelde, before it was taken down several hours later.

"Juventud Rebelde subió ayer a su edición digital el artículo "Contra los demonios de la información secuestrada" firmado por José Alejandro Rodríguez. Apenas unas horas más tarde el artículo fue retirado del site del "Diario de la juventud cubana". Tampoco aparece en la edición impresa de hoy. Lo reproduzco aquí por su extraordinario interés. Por el modus ponens y por la censura a que fue obligada la redacción de ese diario."

Contra los demonios de la Información Secuestrada
José Alejandro Rodríguez
16 de Octubre del 2009 20:19:38 CDT

'Voy a soñar, una vez más. Voy a imaginarme que nunca lo he meditado hasta el cansancio. Voy a creerme que vengo a estrenar un enfoque inusitado. Voy a convencerme de que vale la pena seguir bregando por esa preterida criatura llamada información, cautiva entre silencios y controles desmedidos.

La misión del periodista es informar; claro que también opinar, recrear la realidad, describir, narrar… pero antes que todo informar. Porque para desplegar todos los géneros, formas y discursos del periodismo, primero hay que estar informado… e informar.

La información es un deber del periodista y es un derecho del ciudadano, de ese sujeto histórico que ha sostenido esta Revolución, y que nunca como hoy necesita conocer el terreno que pisa y abona, en medio de múltiples complejidades. Nunca como hoy ese Liborio requiere definir y redefinir las coordenadas en que transita su vida. Nunca como hoy urge de la información para poder interactuar con la sociedad y participar en ella, como un sujeto activo, y no como un “pichón” –frase muy en boga por estos días- que espera le suministren su dosis exacta de la información desde arriba.

El problema, -y lo estamos viviendo en Juventud Rebelde- es que la información no escapa a la excesiva centralización de nuestra economía y de la sociedad en general, algo que para nada tiene que ser un fatídico componente genético del socialismo, como algunos creen; más bien lo entorpece en sus potencialidades democráticas. Bien arriba se decide muchas veces qué decir e informar, qué no decir de los grandes temas de la sociedad, aún cuando la terca vida transcurra allá abajo, con sus complejidades.

A estas alturas, da tristeza constatarlo, una ministra puede permitirse rechazar una solicitud de una periodista y cercenar el derecho a más información, asumiendo que ya fue a la Mesa Redonda a desempacarlo todo. O más bien todo lo que se quiere decir. La hiperbolización de la Mesa Redonda como el escenario de la información suprema, es un atentado a la necesaria versatilidad y variedad que distingue al buen periodismo. Esa «mesaredondización» es un aporte redondo a la burocratización del periodismo, con el debido respeto para los colegas de ese espacio, que no son los responsables del fenómeno.

Alguien –juro que no imagino quién es ese alguien- puede decidir que determinadas medidas en el escenario socioeconómico se pongan en práctica, sin una estrategia informacional dirigida hacia el sujeto histórico que las asumirá. Ejemplos sobran de cambios que se han registrado sin la necesaria información en nuestros medios: del proceso de solicitud y entrega de tierras en usufructo, algo que supuestamente dinamizará nuestra agricultura, hubo un instante, dos, tres… ha habido ¿o habrá todavía?, en que no se podía hablar ni apenas mencionar. Se me dijo en esta redacción que venía de arriba.

No se reflejó en los medios el rico proceso de debate promovido por Raúl hace dos años, expresión cimera de nuestra democracia socialista. Tampoco se puede hoy mencionar este último, en el cual militantes del Partido y revolucionarios más allá del carnet, debaten los problemas que aquejan a sus colectivos.

Se convoca a la prensa para que acompañe gregariamente la promoción de la Resolución sobre el pago por resultados del Ministerio del Trabajo y Seguridad Social. Este redactor se emociona con acariciar un rescate de la Ley de Distribución Socialista, que tanto se nos ha alejado: Entrevista al viceministro del MTSS, crea expectativas con aquello de que los que trabajen más y mejor podrán ganar y vivir mejor.

Al final, la aplicación de la Resolución aborta, los burócratas se resisten a complicarse en las normas y las formas de pago móviles. Es más fácil el igualitarismo, lo que te toca. Y nadie explica por qué el pago por rendimiento está obstaculizado en Cuba.

Un reportero, por indicación de sus directivos, acude al Ministerio de Economía y Planificación para que, ante la avalancha de rumores sobre la desaparición de los comedores obreros en la prensa extranjera, con sus enfoques cismáticos y tendenciosos en ciertos casos, ese ministerio confirme si es verdad, y lo fundamente, y si no es verdad lo rebata. El ministro delega en la viceministra, la viceministra le dice al reportero que debe consultarlo con el ministro...Ahí empieza el peloteo, hasta que la viceministra le confiesa al periodista que hay una experiencia en estudio, pero no se desea informar de eso «por ahora». A la semana, aparece en Granma un trabajo al respecto, y el reportero se siente engañado. ¿Será el concepto de la «mesaredondización» o la «granmatitis»? ¿Será que en Granma adquiere majestad suprema la información?

Ejemplos sobrarían, de cuántos funcionarios se abrogan el derecho a decidir qué se puede informar, después de mirar hacia arriba para recibir la extremaunción de la noticia ya muerta. Casi nadie se atreve a informar a la prensa y desplegar relaciones horizontales sin la venia de sus superiores. Y muchas veces la genuflexa cadena transita por varios niveles e instancias…hasta que la noticia ya está sepultada por la propia vida.

Es cierto que la información es un arma de doble filo, porque revela las luces, pero también los hoyos oscuros de la realidad. Pero la información es un bien público, y no podemos sustituirla por la oportuna información permitida, por la información virtual, por la información-propaganda o la información conveniente, la información con pinzas, o como quiera llamársele. La información es información.

En todo caso la información, con todos sus matices, con sus claroscuros, siempre nos hará más eficaces y revolucionarios, más concientes del momento histórico; más preclaros para discernir lo posible de lo imposible, y más participativos; porque todo –incluida la información- no se puede cocinar desde cenáculos. El cubano necesita mirar hacia el futuro, saber qué sucede, y no andar a tientas y a ciegas, a merced del mendrugo de información. El cubano necesita participar activamente, proponer y ser tenido en cuenta, sopesar entre el bien y el mal, para fortalecer su Revolución.

Claro que no hablaré de las culpas de los periodistas, unos más osados, otros más cansados y conformistas. En la medida en que persista este modelo de política informativa restrictivo y controlador, se fomentarán más los desencantos e hibernaciones entre nuestros profesionales.

Y sin información, sin participación del sujeto histórico, es imposible cimentar concientemente un socialismo más pleno y democrático.

Después de todo esto, no vamos a cortarnos las venas de la profesión. El periodista revolucionario tiene que seguir batallando aquí y allá. Si se te cierran las puertas, esa puede ser la noticia. Una alternativa ante la cerrazón es enfocar los fenómenos desde otras fuentes no tan institucionales y tan arriba, desde el pueblo que es el principal sostén de esta Revolución. Y hacerlo con compromiso y seriedad.

Juventud Rebelde ha ganado buen trecho y prestigio en esta pelea cubana contra los demonios de la información secuestrada. ¿Vamos a retroceder? Ese es el desafío mayor para la nueva dirección de este periódico que aún no se sabe, pero que, en definitiva somos todos.'
H/T Jorge Ferrer - El Tono de la Voz

Though I don't often read her work, Yoani Sánchez provides a view of the significance of the piece, and its subsequent disappearance. Quoting from the English-language version of her blog, Geneation Y:

"No one knows the mechanisms of censorship in Cuba better than those who write in the few newspapers of national circulation. The press here has been turned into a delicate profession required to measure adjectives, carefully weigh topics and often to hide personal opinions in order to keep a job. It is a life decision to be a journalist for the official media, I know, but I also know some who have been trapped in the twists and turns of complicity, waiting for the day when they can write what they think.

From the Juventude Rebelde newspaper office where Reinaldo worked until 1988, there is very little left because most of his colleagues now live in Miami, Mexico and Spain. Others have retired from the profession, disillusioned with the aborted glastnost and the consecutive calls for criticism, which ended up being bait for the most daring. José Alejandro Rodríguez survived all this and carried his personal battle into the “Receipt Requested” section where he published readers’ letters with their complaints and questions. Every time I read his crusade against bureaucracy and poor work, I sense the regressive countdown that will probably culminate in his professional silencing.

A few days ago José Alejandro could take no more. He took everything he has accumulated about the “excessive centralization” that the press on this Island is subject to and condemned the secrecy surrounding government decisions. In his article “Against the demons of kidnapped information” he used the language of an honest man who always believed in the possibility of humanizing the current system through the transparency of information. I respectfully differ with him, because what has been built on a foundation of hiding, condemning and filtering cannot survive the clear light that emanates from an incisive and free journalism.

The three pages of his harangue lasted just a few hours on the on-line version of Juventud Rebelde. The article was kidnapped by the shrewd hawks of orthodoxy, who know well the danger of a Nation that begins to learn everything you have hidden."

Pobre Cuba...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

UPDATED: Pappillon Does Not Encourage the Sale of Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

Pappillon, its founder, its contributors and all those collaborating with Joe Papp in the fight against doping would like to state unequivocally and for the record that we would never intentionally permit the advertising of any doping product (or even pseudo doping product) on this website, and we do not condone the use of such products outside of their intended medical applications - and certainly not by athletes looking to gain an illegal performance edge. Furthermore, we will attempt to prevent Google from serving ads to Pappillon that promote the use of products that conflict so strongly with the site's anti-doping stance and which have no place in the new cycling for which we are all fighting.

UPDATE: OK - apparently one should not try to disavow Google ads promoting the sale of HGH. Or else you get the following:

Cycling Memorabilia

Cycling Memorabilia - we all have it (if we're cycling fans, current competitors, ex-pro's, parents of a junior or even the most cynical journalist - even the ones from Ireland!). As a junior, I collected a few "pro" things like team and rider trading/publicity cards, century (100 mile ride) patches, souvenir programs and other scraps that I was able to paw while very much on the outside looking-in.

As an elite (both pro and elite 2 w/o contract), I primarily collected three things (in addition to top-5 placings and wins, UCI points on three continents and accounts of adventures that were significantly larger than the accounts into which my race winnings were deposited): 1) race credentials, 1) foreign currency, and 3) race numbers.

I also was better-than-average at convincing some Hispanic-members of the fairer sex that my blue eyes and mastery of their language, with a bad Uruguayan accent thrown-in to boot, meant that I wasn't just another American "Joe." The subsequent phone numbers were tossed in along with results sheets from stages in which I placed well, and even a couple of team room lists, filched from hotel corridors lined with doors behind which slept the stars of Mapei and Kelme - who beat upon me daily.

Someday I'll release the transcript of my one and only English "conversation" as competitors with Filippo "The_Ego" Pozzato, held on the streets of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, (and in closer proximity to a whorehouse than our teams' hotel), but for now, please enjoy a brief tease of what takes up space in my apt.

In the future, if anyone would be interested in collaborating on some kind of virtual, community-curated repository of pro cycling memorabilia, let me know. I'm sure that we could leverage every-less-meaningful technological advances and cheap storage space to make for the online version of a Pro Cycling Louvre!

Above:  My rider credential from the 2004 Pan Ams.

Above: Frankie Andreu's Team 7-Eleven rider postcard

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Influences as a Writer

Jorge from Santiago emailed today to ask who it was that I took inspiration from or had influenced me as a writer. Given that I write for pleasure only about two primary topics (competitive cycling and international affairs), I name three influences [and belatedly add a fourth].

Sam Abt (especially his book, "In High Gear" - I see there is a used copy available for $4.01US - someone should buy this!)

Bob Roll (when he penned a column for VeloNews and forever sold me on Tag-Heuer watches with his story of losing in winter and then finding in spring his 7-Eleven team-issue Tag - even anyone has a print copy of this column and would scan it for me, or a digital one - I'd love to have it for my archives)

Ernest Hemingway (particularly "A Farewell to Arms")

Roll, when he wrote about his adventures on the road with 7-Eleven and Motorola, gave me the impetus to write about my own experiences on the bike in a manner very different from the formula-like "Race Reports" that had become popular after Bobke's career ended. John Lieswyn was the one diarist for who I always admired and hoped to equal in capturing the readers' interest. I don't know that I ever did, but - add John as a fourth influence.

I think Roll was a better writer than TV commentator. I think Lieswyn was an amazing rider and equally gifted with a pen (or laptop). Hemingway ... is Hemingway, and Sam Abt is one person alive (I hope?) on the face of the earth who I'd like to meet if ever given the opportunity to "meet any person alive on the face of the earth of my choosing." (lol) Anyone have his email address?

Doping and More Doping - Vincenzo Centrone and Jesus Losa

First, from El Pais, we have the follow-up to Moisés Dueñas' EPO positive from the '08 Tour, in which Jesus Losa is unmasked as his doping doctor. The original article is here. A Google-translated version is here. What's shocking is the fact that the investigation revealed the possible involvement in doping of riders who - surprise - never tested positive, including: Dani Moreno, Luis León Sánchez, Alexander Kolobnev and Luis Maté.

In the summer of 2008 in the Tour and the Olympics, two cyclists who had tested positive for EPO, Moises Duenas and Maribel Moreno, confessed to the police (mobilized to enforce Spanish anti-doping laws), that their doctor was Jesus Losa. "Then they started up the mechanisms of rule of law, which worked flawlessly," said Secretary of State for Sports and father of the law, Jaime Lissavetzky.

"En el verano de 2008, en el Tour y en los Juegos Olímpicos, dos ciclistas que habían dado positivo por EPO, Moisés Dueñas y Maribel Moreno, confesaron a la policía, movilizada para hacer cumplir la Ley española que penaliza el dopaje, que su médico era Jesús Losa. "Entonces se pusieron en marcha los mecanismos del Estado de derecho, que funcionaron perfectamente", dice el secretario de Estado para el Deporte y padre de la ley, Jaime Lissavetzky."

Then Vincenzo Centrone is handed a two-year ban. Wait, Vincenzo-who? Press Release follows. Link to a translated copy at the bottom of the page.

Communiqué - Suspension de deux ans pour le cycliste Vincenzo Centrone

À l’occasion des contrôles antidopage faits par l’Agence luxembourgeoise antidopage le 28 juin 2009 lors du championnat national de cyclisme à Differdange, il y a eu un résultat anormal du cycliste Vincenzo Centrone, licencié de la Fédération sportive cycliste luxembourgeoise (FSCL), du fait de la présence d’une substance interdite dans l’échantillon de ses urines.

L’ALAD a constitué les dossiers conformément à son Code antidopage. Ayant conclu à une violation d’une règle antidopage, l’ALAD a saisi le Conseil de discipline contre le dopage (CDD) pour qu’il prenne connaissance et juge de la violation constatée.

Le CDD a pris sa décision en date du 16 septembre 2009 et cette décision n’a pas fait, de la part du sportif, l’objet d’un appel dans les délais prescrits.

L’infraction reprochée étant donnée en espèce, le CDD a prononcé contre le sportif Vincenzo Centrone une sanction de suspension de deux (2) ans, prenant cours à la date du 30 juillet 2009. Le rapport d’analyse a renseigné la présence de la substance interdite Modafinil.

Le CDD a prononcé encore l’annulation du résultat individuel de Monsieur Vincenzo Centrone réalisé lors du championnat national de cyclisme.


VDB Funeral this Saturday

According to, Frank Vanbenbroucke will be laid to rest at a private funeral to be held Saturday in Ploegsteert, Belgium. The 34-year-old died last week in Saly, Senegal, and the ceremony will be followed by a burial in the family vault in a nearby cemetery. For our Spanish-speaking readers:

El funeral de Frank Vandenbroucke tendrá lugar el sábado en Ploegsteert El entierro del ciclista belga Frank Vanbenbroucke se realizará el sábado a las 11:00 en Ploegsteer. La ceremonia será seguida por el entierro en el panteón familiar en el cementerio de la provincia. Los padres del ciclista han solicitado que la ceremonia tenga lugar en la más estricta intimidad en la iglesia por lo que una pantalla gigante se levantará fuera de la iglesia.

Whilst perusing the archives, I came across this shot of VDB (then riding for Quick Step and trailed by team boss Patrick Lefevere), after stage 3 of the 2003 Tour of the Mediterranean, in La Motte, France:

Contrast VDB's blood-shot eyes and almost-smile, with the epic effort Lefevere might be making to suppress a grin and conceal the pleasure one might feel upon realizing just how well his young charge might be responding to - The Charge - that would see him through to a brilliant second-place at that year's Tour of Flanders. All speculation, of course, but Lefevre - who admitted to abusing amphetamines while a rider - was accused by the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws of involvement in the doping of various riders in articles titled "Patrick Lefevre, 30 years of doping."

When Cyclingnews covered the story, they reported that Het Laatste Nieuws' key sources for the articles were a former cyclist who raced with Lefevere in the '70s, but is now a convicted criminal serving time, and the director of the race Driedaagse van De Panne (Three Days of De Panne). The other key sources remained anonymous, and there were no revelations of previously unannounced positive dope tests from riders that Lefevere' managed.

The articles claim to review an alleged doping history starting from when the manager was himself a pro cyclist. One source told the newspaper, "Lefevere stopped racing because he was addicted to amphetamines himself" when describing Lefevere's cycling career in the seventies. Another claimed that Lefevere also dealt in doping products.

An Italian doctor that took care of Lefevere's riders during the years of the Mapei-team, featuring Johan Museeuw, also claimed that there was organised use of doping products. "Growth hormone came from the pharmacy, EPO was ordered online. If you wanted to ride a good season, you needed 20,000 to 30,000 euro, including products. Lefevere knew about it, saw it happening and approved it all", said one claim in the newspaper.

The camera rarely lies - at least not when the tale is in the eyes...

Photo - Belgian Quick-Step Davitamon Frank Vandenbroucke (R) and sports director Patrick Lefevere (L) pictured during the third stage of the Mediterranean Tour cycling race, Friday 14 February 2003, in La Motte, France. BELGA PHOTO MICHEL GOUVERNEUR)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Could Cadel become el Patrón? has a great series of Sirotti images from Lombardia, including the one below of Evans. Though unlikely, image him as el Patrón of the bunch...and does he look a bit like Todd Herriott - if Todd Herriott had been World Champion?

Nope. Sorry. Just my hangover...