Monday, April 26, 2010

Vinokourov Serves Scottish Crow for Dinner

In an interview published on April 7 on the UK website of Cycling Weekly, David Millar had the following choice words for Alexandre Vinokourov, winner of yesterday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège:

"...Vinokourov is at the other end of the scale. He'll never be the same rider again, and he doesn't treat the peloton with respect, so he doesn't get treated with respect back. There's zero respect for Vinokourov in the peloton."

Now, Pappillon is not sure which "peloton" it is that Millar - who was stripped of his 2003 World Time Trial Championship for being a drugs cheat (just like Vinokourov) - is referring to, nor in what way Vino' wouldn't be the same. Because a quick perusal of the results sheet confirms that Vino's win yesterday in L-B-L is his second in the event, with the first coming in 2005. The Kazakh served a standard two-year ban for homologous blood doping from 2007 to 2009...

As for the part about "zero respect," we can only guess that Millar must have meant to say that some subset of the ProTour peloton in which he competes (alongside Vino') isn't particularly fond of him - perhaps an English-speaking group? Because there is at least one rider who found no fault with Vinokourov's win: Alberto Contador, his teammate and the reigning Tour de France champion. He had this to say at the finish of Liège:

"I saw that Vino was very strong and was very touched listening to how they cheered him on the radio. When I heard that he had won, I was very happy." 

Hardly the words of a man with zero respect for his colleague.

It does, however, seem that David Millar should just "shut up and ride." Slagging off Vinokourov - when you yourself were guilty of the same transgressions - conveys the image of a whiny, preachy, jealous tool. A description that we are loathe to apply to the man who's personal website once featured the URL

David, we know you're reading this, so please - focus less on bitching about Vino' and more on your own training and racing and developing your younger teammates into drug-free, champion cyclists - and soon one of them might get to enjoy his own Classic podium moment...


  1. "It does, however, seem that David Millar should just "shut up and ride." Slagging off Vinokourov - when you yourself were guilty of the same transgressions"
    Most ironic statement so far this week.

  2. Ahh jeez, Joe. Why do you have to pick on one of my fave riders, Millar?

  3. Did anyone see the crap piece that VeloNews ran attacking Vino, too? If not, here is the link:

    When I saw it I almost barfed. I held down the urge to puke, and instead scratched-out this comment:

    "If it’s proven that he isn’t cheating"????

    So now the presumption is one of guilt - and it's the rider's responsibility to prove to the satisfaction of John Wilcockson that they're not cheating? Please.

    If John Wilcockson can support Lance Armstrong and apparently accept the fact that the EPO found in his frozen urine samples, and the back-dated TUE for corticosteroid-use don't constitute cheating, then certainly Vino's win in 2010 L-B-L in the absence of *any* evidence of doping is proof enough that he is the legitimate race winner.

    VeloNews should examine its own bias and consider why it ran a sensationalized headline like the one accompanying this article. "Vinokourov's unpopular victory"? Unpopular with whom? My friends and I are are THRILLED that Vino won, and think that journalists should go back to reporting the news, and not editorializing. J.W. and co. would do well to realize that they are NOT the arbiters of guilt or innocence in cycling. Until proven otherwise, Vino is CLEAN, not doped, and to suggest otherwise is to perpetuate a mentality that is foul and blatantly biased - namely that random people like John Wilcockson can imply that some riders who have not been proven to be doping in the here and the now are in fact probably guilty of doping, while others - despite overwhelming circumstantial evidence linking them to cheating - are actually clean."

    Great post, Pappillon, though you should give credit to the original photographers whose images you use - just a suggestion.

  4. HAHAHA Matt! Touché!!!! But I wasn't picking on David (who was nice enough to show his personal support when I was going through the difficult process of confessing). Rather, I'm encouraging him not to pick on Vino! [not like Vino can't take care of himself though, right?]

    There are several English-speaking riders in the peloton right now - Wiggins, Cav, Taylor Phinney, and, alas, David Millar - who must think it fashionable to condemn some non-English speaking riders who've doped, served sanctions and are making comebacks (Riccò, Vino, Sella). I'm sorry, but that's a party foul. Attacking those three does nothing to enhance the credibility of the attackers, and only makes them seem bitter.

    Attack the UCI or WADA or CONI or the Kazakh federation...but let your fellow riders get on with riding. You don't hear Armstrong Vino-bashing (ick - I can't believe I just cited L.A. as an example of behavior I'd encourage in others! lol ;).

  5. Hugh, I think I know where you're coming from, but even I'm not crazy enough to try to compare myself to Millar and Vino in this situation.


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