Thursday, December 31, 2009

Upcoming Archival Material

The news of Tom Zirbel's positive test for DHEA was a shock to many, even those of us at Pappillon with a more cynical view of the sport (hardened by experience). But, with only an "A"-sample result and no B, let alone an arbitration hearing, there still exists the possibility that Zirbel will prove his innocence.

No one enjoys watching the unmasking of their heroes as sporting frauds, and many will continue to believe in a doper's innocence long after circumstantial evidence says otherwise, but before the final verdict is delivered (be it by USADA or CAS). One of our contributors had this to say on the matter:

"[Innocent-because-he-is-nice fan says:] 'I just don't believe that a //BLANK// would can't be true...!'

Please insert the following for //BLANK//, as you see fit:

- Nice Guy
- Amish dude
- Cancer Survivor
- Well-educated person
- Guy who swore he was clean to Congress
- Father
- Son
- Mother of two
- Person who went on Oprah
- Hero to millions
- Christian
- etc. etc. etc.

I've heard it all, man. You can't believe anyone anymore."

Now if that's not cynical, we don't know what is! In the spirit of "we've heard it all before," Pappillon will soon run a series of old articles on doping from the 1980's to highlight an era of our sport's history in this country that many - unfortunately - would rather soon forget. We're not embarking upon this to air dirty laundry, but rather, to remind the US cycling scene that nice guys do dope - even when they're wearing the stars-and-stripes, and hell, even if what they did technically wasn't doping at the time.

And Haters, They Gonna Hate

Totally over-the-top level of Papp-Hate, in my opinion. So hateful, in fact, that it is almost loving. After all, who goes through this much work to create such iconography if they don't care intensely about their subject...

Thank you to the unknown artist, and to Doucheblog Cycling for leaking the hate so we could expose it to the light. Oh, and Mr. Artist, Jesus just called to notify me that the Devil takes possession of your soul in 6 mos. 

"Playas, they gonna play.
And haters, they gonna hate.
Ballers, they gonna ball.
Shot callers, they gonna call.
That ain't got nothin' to do
With me and you..."

Google Voice = Funny Transcript

I think I may have a new source of content for this blog on the slow days: Google Voice's transcription function. A Spanish-speaker left me a message today, which Google took to read:

"Don't forget to date and I will mate. Yes, they did that and I'll talk went up at all, but it's a goddamn thing afflicted. They've made mislabeled. I think that out all to have out there that I get a ethical get that out the only one and they had to, and I was seeing what I want to deliver on that this is kevin launch. I'll talk to you. Hey Daddio."


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Zirbel: What a Waste of a Great Career

VeloResults UK laments the Zirbel Affair, as Ed Hood writes:

Fourth in the Worlds Elite TT, second only to Zabriskie in the US TT champs and with a Garmin contract neatly signed. But scratch all of the above and file under, "Another one bites the dust !" albeit the 'B' sample might just be 'clean.' We asked Paul Coats, who's a lecturer at Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, for an expert view.

"Zirbel, Jesus who knows these days!

Seems a strange one though, as I mentioned to you when you asked me about Landis; testosterone or any of the androgens are only useful for recovery.

And you can beat the test if you are smart and most pros are, or at least they have someone keeping them right.

Long gone are the days of using steroids, too easily detected. Only dumb asses get caught on test these days, my gran mother knows that. DHEA is a pro hormone and is metabolised to more active testosterone, produced naturally and can also be taken as supplement.

Its readily available to buy on internet; first Google hit:

The problem with supplements used in body building is that they add DHEA without listing it.

Thus making the customer think the product is great and they buy more.

This was a big problem a couple years ago; in the USA there were a few well documented cases of track athletes testing positive due to protein supplements which were contaminated (so the manufacturer said) with DHEA.

Now all the reputable supplement manufacturers provide test results to show their products are free from substances that may produce positive result.

Zirbel will know what he has taken, he clearly has tested positive and unless there is a total screw up his B sample will be positive.

It would be useful if the numbers were presented; then we could see how much was in his system.

He states on Cycling News he knows nothing and is ignorant of all this kind of thing.

Well, we know all pros know this game inside out and he is seasoned pro.

Diet will be a major factor in his training and I'm sure he knows exactly what supplements and food he has taken, so what's happened?

1) His body produces high DHEA, ok, why not tested high before? So unlikely.

2) Someone spiked his recovery drink, wild claim, possible but unlikely.

3) He took a supplement contaminated with DHEA, possible yes it happened in the past, but nowadays quality supplements come with quality control, also he's probably taking the same supplements as others on his Bissel team - they have not tested positive.

Unless he has his own supplements; but as mentioned he will know what he takes and could provide this to authorities to check for DHEA contamination and, in a way, help explain the situation.

4) He is a dumb ass - applying Occam's razor principle (the simplest explanation or strategy tends to be the best one) 4 seems the most likely.

We will likely never know the truth; but if 4 is correct, what a waste of a great career and potential great 2010 with Garmin.

I cant believe someone at his level can test positive for DHEA, its not like EPO or CERA, it has no big benefits but carries the same penalty

Paul Coats (PhD)Lecturer Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences."

'waste of a great career' - for sure, Paul.

With thanks to Paul for his time and expertise.  

[Editor's note: And thanks to VeloResults UK for making this information available to the readers of Pappillon. We encourage you to visit both sites regularly.]

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Twisted Spoke’s 2010 New Years wishes for the peloton

Twisted Spoke, an excellent blog only recently painted by the Pappillon Radar, has agreed to an information sharing system between our sites. For this we're thankful, even if the first wish (obviously belonging to someone on Team Shack) in Twisted Spoke’s 2010 New Years wishes for the peloton will result in the phrase Vino4-EVER coming to refer only to the length of homeboy's ban. Shiiiiit. Our own Joe Papp fairs quite well, and for that we here at Pappillon are thankful and hope that TS's wish for JP is realized. With no further delays, here is the list.

Alexander Vinokourov. That Vino is caught once again and forever banished.

Bradley Wiggins. That the talented rider learns massive infusions of SKY cash will land him outside the top 10 in the TDF. Sometimes loyalty matters.

George Hincapie. The one of the nicest, stand-up and loyal guys in the peloton gets a win in his beloved Paris Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders.

Typer Farrar. That the battling buddhist teaches Mark Cavendish the meaning of humility by kicking his arse a few times.

Alberto Contador. We wish him a productive 2010 season but also the growing wisdom that there is no I in team. And good luck with the Kazaks — they don’t speak a word of Spanish.

Lance Armstrong. Lance always has our utmost respect. His 3rd in the tour last year was as impressive as any of his wins. Our wish for Lance: a mountain stage win in the tour, beating the young Contador and earning a few days in yellow. P.S. ease up on the tweets.

Jens Voigt. A true soldier and eternally optimist, here’s to Jens winning whatever race he picks out. And get a full face helmet.

Versus & Universal Sports channels. For godsakes, what must we do to get TV coverage of the Giro & Vuelta at a bare minimum? We kneel in prayer that this may change.

Christian Vande Velde. We hold out hope that VV will avoid crashes and tantalize us again in the TDF with a possible podium.

Levi Leipheimer. The first man to welcome Lance back from retirement, we hope he’s ready and in top form when Lance can push himself no harder in the Tour. Levi can win this thing with luck.

Mark Cavendish. That he learns you never have a ghost written autobiography when you’re only 24.

Danilo di Luca. We hope we never hear or see you again. A doper with an inflated and unrepentant ego.

Floyd Landis. May you rediscover the joy to ride at the top level again. The ProTour needs a talented and unique personality like Floyd. France, forgive him.

Joe Parkin. American author of A Dog In A Hat, his hilarious and revealing personal account of racing in Belgian in the 80’s. May your new cycling book be a best-seller.

Alejandro Valverde. Please, go away — for at least two years. You’re as guilty as Di Luca.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport. Find a backbone and no more case postponements.

Nicholai Proskurin of the Kazak Cycling Federation. Shut up.

Cadel Evans. A bold move going to BMC or yet another team with insufficient horsepower to help you back on the podium in the TDF? We’re hoping the first. Enjoy your rainbow.

Andy Schleck. Learn to time trial and make this a real battle with Contador.

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. Keep it up guys, don’t go retiring on us just yet.

WADA & UCI. Shake hands, play nice, act like adults.

Inego Cuesta, at age 40, the wise man of the peloton. Enjoy riding your 16th Vuelta. Chapeau.

Jan Ullrich. Just say it, you’ll feel better. Just ask Bjarne Riis.

Robbie McEwen. Rockin’ Robbie is a pain in the arse, the pre-Cav. But he’s irrepressible and an amazing bike handler. Here’s to a solid comeback and at least one grand tour sprint win against the Manxman.

The people behind the CyclePassion calendar. Will you please, please, please invite me to the 2011 photo shoots?


Angelo Zomegnan, Giro promoter. We thought you were a preposterous, egotistical blowhard — but you grew on us. Nobody else understands the importance of spectacle in a grand tour. May you always be surrounded by luscious podium girls.

Tom Danielson. You proved you were back last year. Here’s hoping for 3 uninterrupted weeks of good health in a grand tour and a top five finish.

Joe Papp. A multi-talented and articulate rider whose career imploded with doping. A fresh start, a new dream, somewhere in the cycling world because deep love for a sport deserves another chance.

Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin’s argyle genius. Love the argyle but this year let’s push the fashion envelope. I’m feeling seersucker.

Frank Vandenbroucke. We hope you truly are resting in peace.

Bob Roll. Bobke is the ONLY cycling commentator on air with a sense of humor. Don’t change a thing, Master B.

Carlos Sastre. Another quiet, hard working rider who gets his pick ax and goes down into the mine everyday. We wish you one last hurrah in a grand tour.

Twisted Spoke. Yes, a shameless wish for yours truly. More blog traffic. A paid writing assignment for a major cycling publication. Press credentials for the 2010 Tour de France.

Happy new year. Ride your bike.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tom Zirbel Tests Positive for DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)

I don’t know Tom Zirbel as a person so I can’t speak to his character, and I have no first-hand knowledge of his supplement use or medical care (if he received any), let alone whether or not he actually ingested DHEA. But if his B-sample comes back positive or he otherwise fails to clear his name, his world is going to implode, and it won’t be pretty. reports, "Tom Zirbel has announced he tested positive in an anti-doping test conducted by the United States Anti Doping Association (USADA) following the US Pro time trial championships on August 29, 2009. The A-sample returned positive for an endogenous steroid Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Zirbel awaits the response of the B sample. 'I want to inform the cycling community that an 'A' sample of mine from a urine test conducted by USADA on Aug. 29, 2009 after the US Pro TT has tested positive for exogenous DHEA,' Zirbel said. 'I have not yet received notification from USADA on the findings of the 'B' sample, but I expect to receive word any day now.'..."

I can empathize with what Zirbel might feel then, should the B-sample come back positive, as you all know that my own career ended when I was just 31 and was caught doping - which was devastating. Worse, almost no one could understand that, even though I’d brought it on myself to a large degree by doping shamelessly for five years, the feeling of being ripped from the womb of cycling left me so disoriented and adrift that life temporarily lost all meaning and hope. So if Tom doped and is found guilty and sanctioned – or if he didn’t dope but is still sanctioned because of a false positive – I want him to know that he’s not alone and there are other cyclists who can understand the hell in which he’ll find himself and can offer their support. Myself included.

Tom’s case isn’t being adjudicated in the US criminal justice system, so the operative theory isn’t “Innocent until Proven Guilty” and given what I know about the sophistication of doping in cycling, the ease with which controls can be thwarted, the capacity of humans to lie, cheat and steal to get to satisfy their ambition, and the fallibility of even the most pious, saintly men, of course I think it’s possible that he doped. However, it’s also possible that it’s a false positive, though the statistical likelihood of such an anomaly is slight, if I remember correctly.

If Tom is going to first be tried in a court of public opinion, well, then he sure sounds guilty when he says something as disingenuous as “I didn’t knowingly ingest any DHEA,” “I’m ignorant about these things, I didn’t know what DHEA was until I was first notified about my A sample positive.” [ref] Hey, guess what? I didn’t knowingly ingest the steroid (probably some brand of Testosterone Undecanoate ) that led to my positive urinalysis, though it’s entirely possible that it was there because my team gave me a doping product that metabolized into 6α-OH-androstenedione or 6β-OH-androsterone. Furthermore, it is utterly unbelievable that a professional like Tom Zirbel who earns his living from the bike and who would eventually negotiate a contract with a ProTour team for 2010, wouldn’t know what DHEA was as of late-summer 2009, when it was THE doping product that effectively ended Tyler Hamilton’s career - in APRIL 2009.

BUT, by the same token, and in Tom’s defense, the lab very well have made an error. Just like I didn’t knowingly ingest anything that could have left the metabolites 6α-OH-androstenedione or 6β-OH-androsterone, I had taken five other doping products that an accredited-lab failed to detect. I hope people consider both scenarios while we wait for the official disclosure. USADA is a very professional, well-run, seemingly fair organization, and they don't strike me as being the type of people who persecute athletes. In fact, USADA is scrupulous about protecting the privacy of accused athletes, such that when I called a contact there today to discuss the "Zirbel Situation," he wasn't even aware that the cyclist had gone ahead and preemptively announced his A-sample result. USADA would have kept that private until well after the B-sample was analyzed (assuming it was also positive and the athlete chose to continue to defend against the charges). A lab, however, that made an error in analyzing a sample or reporting its findings would have a strong disincentive to publicly admit that and an unethical employee or lab director might hang an athlete out to dry. Might.

I know for a fact that a rider was positive for EPO when he won a US National Criterium Championship – he took a full-strength, non-micro dose within the time frame during which he should have been positive. In fact, his “A” sample WAS positive, but his “B” was declared negative because the EPO levels were interpreted to fall just below the cut-off for a definitive positive. So the labs can make mistakes. Guilty go free (only to be caught later). Some riders cheat. I hope most do not. But to be in Tom’s shoes right now is to be in hell and I wish him and his family the best regardless of what the truth of the matter is.

WADA Social Science Research

According to its website, WADA is committed to improving evidence-based doping prevention strategies through social science research. Understanding the fundamental differences between athletes who choose to compete clean and those who resort to doping or why some athletes decided to dope – despite being well aware of the harmful effects of doping and of anti-doping rules - will assist in ensuring that doping prevention strategies are effective and efficient. In fact, I contributed to this research myself after testing positive and owning-up to my involvement in doping, and was honored to have the opportunity to do so.

WADA’s Social Science Research Grant Program was created to ensure that preventive anti-doping education programs were designed using an evidence-based approach. Since the creation of the Program in 2005, 26 projects have been funded with awards nearing the US$730,000 mark.

Target Research Program
To further ensure effective doping prevention strategies, WADA’s Education Committee identifies specific areas that they feel require additional evidence in the way of social science research. Several years worth of WADA-funded research is available for review online here. One study of particular interest to this author, The Development and Validation of a Doping Attitudes and Behaviour Scale (DABS), is summarized below, and a subsequent post will present the full results of the study.

The Development and Validation of a Doping Attitudes and Behaviour Scale (DABS) - PROJECT SUMMARY

"Athletes’ use of prohibited ergogenic substances for performance enhancement is a form of cheating behaviour which can jeopardise their health and careers. Unfortunately, few studies have attempted to understand the psychological mechanisms underlying such behaviour (Roberts et al., 2004). This oversight is unfortunate because anti-doping measures cannot be fully effective unless they address the reasons why athletes engage in cheating in the first place. Against this background, Moran, Guerin, McCaffrey & MacIntyre (2004) conducted a qualitative study of Irish athletes’ understanding of cheating in sport. They discovered that cheating was perceived to occur along a continuum of behaviour ranging from less serious activities such as “smart play” (or gamesmanship), at one end, to the use of banned substances to enhance performance (doping), at the other end. They also found that cheating was rarely perceived as stemming from an individual decision by an athlete but was attributed to a particular type of coaching environment characterised by a “win at all costs” approach. Given such findings, the next step in this programme of research is to explore the “doping” end of the cheating continuum by developing a theoretically-based, self-report instrument which can measure not only athletes’ attitudes to doping but also their propensity to engage in doping behaviour. This scale development task requires three separate studies using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodology (see Biddle, Markland, Gilbourne, Chatzisarantis & Sparkes, 2001) and is guided by the following research questions. First, what are Irish athletes and coaches’ perceptions of, and attitudes towards, doping in sport? This question will be investigated using a series of semi-structured interviews with athletes and coaches/managers from sports (e.g., athletics, cycling and weightlifting) in which doping is known to be prevalent.

Of particular interest in this study will be the attitudes and experiences of athletes who have been investigated for alleged breaches of ant-doping regulations. Second, based on the attitudes elicited by our interviews, what is the best way to design a theoretically-grounded, objectively scored, self-report scale to measure athletes’ attitudes to doping and their propensity to engage in doping behaviour? This question will be answered by rigorous psychometric analysis. Finally, what combination of relevant psychological variables produces the best prediction of a proclivity to engage in doping? Among the predictor variables to be investigated here will be moral reasoning (Tod & Hodge, 2001), perceived motivational/coaching climate (Ommundsen, Roberts, Lemyre & Treasure, 2003), attributional style (e.g., Hanrahan, Grove & Hattie, 1989) and perceived importance of competition (as there is evidence that athletes are more likely to engage in doping when the outcome is perceived as especially important). Although each of these variables has been associated with cheating in sport, no study has yet combined them statistically using multiple regression analysis to predict a propensity to engage in doping behaviour. In summary, the purpose of our study is to develop a theoretically-based, psychometrically sound, self-report scale provisionally entitled the “Doping Attitudes and Behaviour” Questionnaire to assess athletes’ attitudes to, and propensity to engage in, doping behaviour in sport." Click here to read the study in its entirety. Study is in PDF format.

Photo Of The Year # 5 - Sprinter

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Only Cycling-related Prediction for 2010

My only cycling-related prediction for 2010 that I think is worth noticing by the pundits and punters alike is that young pro/elite riders will realize the value of making their own independently articulated anti-doping stances, and @bikepure (BikePure/ will be the vehicle of choice by which they release these statements and give meaning to them through ongoing action and commitment. They will eschew traditional cycling media and hired-gun PR flaks, and will use "established" blogs and outlets as secondary or tertiary distribution vehicles. Likewise, non-elite riders will make the same kinds of declarations through @BikePure because there is finally a critical mass or fans who are frustrated enough with the rot that has festered inside cycling for so long - a cancer with which I, too, was infected and that I even - to my most profound shame - helped to spread for a time - until the insanity stopped.

While I support @BikePure, the prediction I refer to in this post is based on my own analysis and soundings taken at various points throughout our sport. I'm not paid to promote Bike Pure, or otherwise lobby on their behalf. I'd do that anyway - for free!

But if you believe in clean cycling, and you are bored with endless forum discussions about the doping problem and feel powerless to effect change - rejoice! In Bike Pure, you may have a means to turn individual frustration into collective, game-changing action. I know that I'm wearing MY blue wristband and have a blue headset space on the bike I can't ride! I don't agree with every aspect of the proposals BP would like to put forward to fight doping in sport - but, in the sign of a truly "open" and inclusive organization, Andy and Myles don't require orthodoxy from their supporters. Dialogue leading to action rids cycling of dope. Bike Pure has a role to play in that process, and I'll let the organization speak for itself below:

Bike Pure is an independent, global organization for fans, riders and the cycle trade to join together in a united stance for a new era of positive cycling.

Bike Pure will spearhead constructive, structured reform, to restore the integrity of cycle sport and create a nurturing environment for future champions to succeed.

Bike Pure is committed to redirecting trust to Professional cycle sport. Bike Pure is an umbrella group for all concerned parties in cyclesport. A medium to let the fans, riders, teams and cycle trade join together in a united stance for an new era of clean cycling

For decades cycling has had a problem with endemic drug use. The cheats have destroyed the public image of cycling. Although the sport is cleaning up, there were over 60 riders caught cheating in 2009 using artificial, performance enhancing methods. Cycling fans worldwide deserve heroes they can believe in: Clean up or clear out. We desire a truly clean sport, with real riders that the fans, sponsors and media can have faith in.

With the aid of our global, talented membership we are proposing structural reform to the system that is failing the next generation of champions. Each member has a forum to let his voice be heard through Bike Pure.

Bike Pure encourage the athletes and teams to sign an 'Honour Code’, declaring that they race clean, without performance enhancing drugs and with a pledge that will encourage our sport to flourish. If any rider should be deemed positive, Bike Pure are lobbying for stiffer penalties for offenders - 4 year ban minimum and life bans for repeat offenders [Editor's Note: Here is an instance where Joe Papp does not blindly follow Bike Pure - he does not support a four-year minimum ban for a first-time offender.]. It is through the actions and support of our members that we can apply pressure on authorities for these measures to be implicated.

Riders responsible for their own behaviour, their sponsors can have faith that their investment is safe, and the public can have confidence in the results if they are clean.

We are not naive to think this is a complete solution, but it is an important first element getting the clean riders to joining forces with the supporters and laying a foundation to protect the mental and physical health of future champions and the integrity of our wonderful sport."

The Four Horsemen - undated adventures en la Planeta Cuba

Somewhere in Cuba...

Twittering Cyclists - the Definitive Listing

Finally, listings of men and women cyclists connected to the elite level of our sport who are Twittering away (instead of riding km's?):

Scotland Lifts Commonwealth Life Ban on Millar

Scotland will allow cyclist David Millar to compete for his nation at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India after he won an appeal against his life ban.

Commonwealth Games Scotland has lifted a ban that was enforced after Millar, 32, was suspended from cycling for two years in 2004 for using drug EPO. "David has become a campaigner and educator about doping since returning," said CGS chief executive Jon Doig. "He has gone to great lengths to rehabilitate himself."

Doig added: "He has shared his experiences with others in an attempt to promote the anti-doping message. "David has now been cleared to compete for Scotland in Delhi, subject to achieving the necessary performance selection standards."

I made mistakes as a younger athlete in a dirty sport, and I will have to live with those mistakes for the rest of my life, but I have changed - David Millar 

Millar is likely to have little trouble meeting the criteria to get into the team for Delhi, judging by his performances in the Tour de France and other major championships since his return.

He will also deliver an anti-doping seminar to young Scottish athletes as a condition of his return to the Commonwealth Games team.

"I am absolutely delighted with the decision," said Millar, who is still not eligible to ride at the Olympics because the British Olympic Association take a hard-line stance against drug offenders.

"It would be an honour to race for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and to give something back to the country that has given me so much.

"I am proud to be a Scot and feel that I have been supported incredibly through the bad times as well as the good by Scotland.

"I made mistakes as a younger athlete in a dirty sport, and I will have to live with those mistakes for the rest of my life, but I have changed and I know I bring something beneficial to not only cycling but also sport as a whole.

"I have been so proactive in my fight against doping because I believe I can make a difference and I also believe that the mistakes I made as an athlete were fully preventable.

"If the example I now give and education I provide can prevent a younger version of me from making the same mistakes I made, then I could not ask for more."

Story from BBC SPORT  Published: 2009/12/22 07:51:18 GMT  © BBC MMIX

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

And...not related to cycling, but rather to sport (golf, via the Tiger) and Christmas (via MADTV-humor):

Tiger Woods T'was the Night Before Christmas Poem...

Twas the night of Thanksgiving and out of the house
Tiger Woods came a flyin', chased by his spouse.

She wielded a nine iron and wasn't too merry,
Cause a bimbo’s phone number was in his Blackberry.

He’d been cheatin' on Elin, and the story progressed.
Woman after woman stepped up and confessed.

He’d been cheatin’ with Holly, and Jaimee, and Cori,
With Joselyn, and Kalika. The world had the story.

From the top of the Tour to the basement of blues,
Tiger’s sad sordid tale was all over the news.

With hostesses, waitresses, he had lots of sex,
When not in their pants, he was sendin' them texts.

Despite all his cryin’ and beggin' and pleadin',
Tiger’s wife went investin' -- a new home in Sweden.

And I heard her exclaim from her white Escalade,
"If you’re gettin' laid then I’m gettin' paid."

She’s not pouting, in fact, she is of jolly good cheer,
Her prenup made Christmas come early this year.

We know we can't leave you with Tiger-bashing on Christmas morn, so here is Pappillon's present to you: images of the new WC previewed from the site of the great Tim De Waele/TDWsport (We're working on an arrangement that would allow Pappillon reasonable access to the entire TDWsport archive. Stay tuned!)



Thursday, December 24, 2009

PR: Duvel/Moorgat Selects Flandrian as Brand Ambassador

Frequent Pappillon contributor Patrick "The Flandrian" Lyons has reached a 2-year sponsorship agreement with Belgian Brewery Duvel/Moorgat. Lyons will serve as a brand ambassador for Duvel, representing the line by his activities in the upper echelons of competitive cycling.

For Lyons, who cut his teeth racing as an elite amateur in Holland and Belgium, the deal with Duvel is something of a Christmas Miracle. Because of budget cuts and a shift in marketing strategies among the global economic down-turn, Lyon's previous sponsor Heineken/Amstel Light did not renew. Their withdrawal created an opportunity for Duvel, however, who will now enjoy the services of an ex-Special Forces-soldier-turned-bike racer for what promise to be two action-packed seasons.

Negotiations were rapid, according to Public Relations Director Larry Bennett at Duvel, and the agreement was reached late yesterday, US-time. "We are excited to have Patrick back with the Duvel family - he is a great ambassador to the brand and sport," said Bennett.

With Duvel now secured as title sponsor, Lyons is moving quickly to fill-out his stable of supporters. To that end, the Duvel/Moorgat-backed rider convinced Eric Sakolowsky of Velo Europa to provide Cyfac bicycles for 2010. In a familiar refrain for those who work with Lyons, Sakolowsky gushed, "This is an exciting partnership with Patrick, Duvel and Cyfac."

Lyons will compete in events in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, and already has invitations in hand for several post-Tour de France criteriums in Belgium and Holland. He is also targeting a good ride in the 2010 Press World Cycling Championships in September in Belgium. "While I aim to represent all of my sponsors with consistent performances throughout the year - serving as a true brand ambassador - I'm especially focused on a good result at the Press Worlds," revealed Lyons. Yes, he is a man of many talents, for in addition to coaching, competing and managing riders, Lyons is an accredited cycling journalist, and staff writer at The Daily Peloton.