Friday, August 06, 2010

Cynical Holczer Throttles Bottle

Despite what my critics would have you believe, my rejection of doping is all-encompassing, and not contingent upon learning the identity of the rider(s) involved in the scandal du jour. I have no interest in participating in, let alone leading, a "witch hunt" against Lance, and the effort I dedicated to exposing Levi's 1996 positive test was based solely on my disgust with the hypocrisy of those who viciously attacked Vino after his L-B-L win, while blissfully ignoring the former dopers in their own midst.

That Lance and Bottle are in the spotlight right now for all the wrong reasons is their fault - it's not a result of my having some conditional anti-doping agenda.

I hate doping in cycling because of its potential to wreak havoc with the lives of others, like it ultimately did to me. I repeatedly tell my story as a warning - a desperate one - because, as we see now - even the most moneyed athlete isn't immune to doping's destructive forces (even if he still claims to be clean, and thus doesn't even acknowledge how his alleged involvement with doping is destroying his own life).

If someone involved in doping is considering coming clean, I think it's crucial that they unequivocally reject doping, acknowledge the complete magnitude of their involvement, wash their hands of the cheating, the lying, the dishonesty, serve their ban and try to get on with their lives. I don't think that it's absolutely necessary that they prostrate themselves at the altar of public scrutiny and address what they did from a moral perspective, however. That arbitrary demand encourages too much political correctness, and makes it so that an athlete who might have doped in Chile in order to earn more money to support an extended family has to couch his actions in moral terms rather than just admitting that they were influenced by socioeconomic concerns.

Ok, I admit that my argument isn't as well-developed as I'd like it to be, but I don't have limitless time to devote to writing about this stuff. Send your suggestions, complaints and feedback to the usual address.

At the end of the day, right now, I guess I'm in the minority because I don't think that riders should be held to a segment of the public's whims and be made to "confess" to moral failings before they're "welcomed" back to cycling. There is a reason why WADA/UCI don't demand evidence of that kind of behavior when assessing post-sanction compliance. If that's how you genuinely feel, though, by all means - make that clear to your public. But I don't think the public has the right to demand that of the post-sanction athlete. Only a fraction of the world's cycling fans read, VeloNews, Pez, etc...and yet the UCI serves a constituency of nations - all of whom are entitled to expect that their athletes will be treated fairly and uniformly.

But that doesn't mean that you, The Public, can't raise your voices and put forth your own suggestions and demands and requests related to anti-doping. In fact, I'd hope you would do just that in the case of the former Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer, who this week claimed that Levi Leipheimer's blood values during the 2005 Tour de France “showed a very high probability of manipulation,” according to German press agency SID.

As advises us, "During his time as a team manager, Holczer was outspoken about doping in cycling and insisted on several occasions that he had confidence in his riders. He famously – and naively – claimed several years ago that he knew they were clean and that he simply didn’t need to run internal tests like those performed by other teams at the time; this later came back to haunt him when both Bernhard Kohl and Stefan Schumacher tested positive for CERA during the 2008 Tour de France."

In case the dots aren't jumping out at you and connecting themselves, Holczer actually knew about doping on his team but covered it up, to protect his economic interests. Then, he pretended to the public to not know about doping on his team - to support his PR aims. And when his star riders, including my friend Bernhard Kohl, tested positive, he hung them out to dry but then threw them under a bus - in a desperate ploy to hang onto the sponsor and show himself to be "tough" on doping, but apparently also a rube who was easily fooled by those sophisticated cyclists.

One rider he chose not to flick was Levi Leipheimer - because the scandal that followed supposedly would have bankrupted Holczer personally, and it would have been a voluntary descent into hell. While the UCI asked Holczer to remove Levi from the team, Leipheimer was technically not (+) for doping, and so free to compete. Yanking Levi from the Tour team and firing him from the squad would have seen the American respond with the legal equivalent of the "Nuclear Option."

Yet now in 2010, Holczer has no problem whatsoever with crucifying Levi and publicly accusing him of the same blood doping he tried to cover-up in 2005. Where was Holczer then?!?

Are you surprised that Holczer is "telling the truth" now because he's promoting his new book, "Garantiert Positiv” (“Guaranteed Positive”) - and presumably has an interest in selling as many as he can?

1 comment:

  1. Only thing surprising to me is that there isn't more of a storm in the German media calling Holczer an opportunist.


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