Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Statement on Today's Events

What happened today has its origins in a very distant time and place, during a part of my life that long ago closed. It’s unfortunate in a way, the timing of this announcement, since it is somewhat out-of-context and not representative of the person who I’ve become. Having escaped a corrupt system in which doping was a practice as accepted and normal as brushing one’s teeth, I strongly believe in clean sport and for several years have been fighting against doping both publicly and in ways that I simply can’t comment on.

At times I wish I could, though. I’d like to help everyone to understand the enormity of the efforts being made to rid sport of drugs, but prudence and good legal sense dictate that I don’t. Nevertheless, this is certainly not an excuse for behavior I previously engaged-in, and so I acknowledged my guilt for past actions and continue to do my part to ensure that young cyclists aren’t led into those situations where they find themselves choosing between a needle or their conscience.

1 comment:

  1. Joe, Joe, Joe,

    What have you got yourself into now? Or would it be better said, "What did you get yourself into back then that is only now come to light?" Don’t worry we wouldn’t judge you.

    We could have easily been in the same situation. Anybody who has raced at a serious level and chased that dream year after year is exposed to the dark underbelly of cycling abroad, and most of us are just one bad decision, lapse in judgment, failure of our moral compass or even heartbreak from turning down the wrong path, giving in to the darkside and looking for salvation where there is only and will only be pain and loss and fear.

    Amazingly (perhaps frustratingly for you), some get away with it, some - somehow - manage to get themselves out of it, but others seemingly like yourself don’t. We look back on our time chasing that dream, out of a tiny apartment in Ghent. A time where it was our whole life, and almost every otherwise normal, every-day decision could be taken exclusively with consideration to what the outcome might be for our fitness or form. As you succeed and progress closer to that ultimate goal, your circle of peers grows (or narrows, in a foreign country), you realise just how obsessive everybody else chasing that same dream (your dream) is.

    We think all endurance athletes become obsessive at that level (you have to be obsessed with your sport just to compete as an Elite, let alone win). And that’s when the dark underbelly can show itself and temptation emerge.

    It's hardly surprising that you were doping in 2006 - weren't you just one member of an entire team with a systematized, team-wide doping program? We don't know what the details are and it doesn't seem like we ever will, since our understanding is that plea agreements are sealed when there is the possibility that a defendant is cooperating with prosecutor. You've been mum on the issue, but your wife was on the run, being hunted by communist thugs, you'd already realized that your own positive test would destroy your reputation, and you did strike us as too smart for your own good...surely there are a multitude of other mitigating factors, but you're in the shit now.

    The entire point of this missive was to convey the fact that - there, but for the Grace of God go We...good luck, brother!


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