Friday, November 9, 2007

Anti-Doping panel

Greg LeMond was participating in a panel discussion about doping last Tuesday in Chicago, hosted by the Chicago Bar Association.

A report on that panel can be found in Cyclingnews, along with a few pictures.

Here are a few quotes from Greg:

Greg Lemond began his speech by talking about how he entered the sport and then the basics of cycling's history of doping, paying particular attention to the final years of his career. "One of our team-mates left our team to an Italian team, saying 'This [doping] is what they are doing - you either provide the same thing or I am leaving.' The coach we had at the time refused and I still respect him to this day," explained Lemond. "That rider saw us before the Tour that year and just laughed at us, saying we had no chance. He said he had ridden the Tour of Spain and didn't feel his legs, not because he was in great shape, but because he had been doping."

"I lasted six days in that Tour de France that year, and that guy died of a heart attack seven months later," added Lemond. "That is when I retired from cycling."

"Most Americans think I am outspoken about this because of Lance Armstrong's success, or Floyd Landis," continued Lemond. "Unfortunately the only time most people have read what I have said about anti-doping in the sport has only been during those years."

Lemond said he is beginning to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel for cycling, in regards to the doping scandals. "Finally we have a sport that wants to change, now that there has been an economic impact. So I am more optimistic than I have been in many years. I spoke with the Tour de France director this year and I think for they first time the organizers want this to change - they need this to change, because it is crumbling underneath their feet. But it is going to be a slow process."

In regards to what Thompson said about the lack of fairness inherent in the current system, Lemond disagreed. "I want fairness - I don't want a an athlete to be falsely accused," he outlined. "But within the sport of cycling I don't know of one false positive that was not, years later, that it was positive. Unlike the defense attorneys, I think the process is skewed [in favor of] the athletes. The governing bodies have to live to a higher standard than even our criminal justice system. The criminal lab's standards are so low relative to scientific labs. And circumstantial evidence still does matter."

In short, Lemond reiterated his stance on anti-doping to an audience not made-up of cycling enthusiasts, putting it this way. "I see these athletes like Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton - they're not bad people, but they get in a situation where the tests aren't reliable or not testing and they feel that they have to keep up and compete."

It's not the first time that Greg LeMond is mentioning Philippe Casado dying a few months after leaving Gan. This experience seems to be quite at the heart of his anti-doping fight. I hope that Roger Legeay, the coach he is mentioning, has stayed 'incorruptible' all along.

I'm kinda glad to see Greg pointing out himself that it's a pity that so many people think he started speaking up against doping only since Armstrong won more than 3 Tours. I wrote a letter to Cyclingnews a bit ago about that, and I was mentioning in that letter an interview he did to "Le cyclisme international" in 1993 or 1994. He was already talking about Ferrari there. I tried to get back my hands on that issue, but didn't find it yet (too many movings in my life... ). It had Greg on the cover, in a Gan team jersey crossing his arms. If anyone has a scan of that, don't hesitate to share it somewhere!

I'm quite fed up with reading so often that he should have spoken out before, that it shows he is just jealous, while he did speak up! I'd like that there exists somewhere on the internet a real physical proof to refer to, showing that he did...


Albert Pallas said...

Hi Claire,

I believe that you can find the issue of the magazine you were asking for on that web page...who knows, maybe they have it available :)

Best regards,

Anonymous said...

It's fine that GL speaks out, it's his right. But he really should get his facts straight before he opens his mouth, and those are that criminal labs have FAR higher standards than most WADA lab. And to go just one step further WADA lab standards are not universal. If doping is to stop, the labs must all have the same exacting standards, period.

BustinBilly said...

Anonymous - That is incorrect. Only 12% of United States crime laboratories have the accreditation of WADA laboratories.

Claire - Good work once again.

Thierry said...


I have the magazine and read the article, but no mentioning to Ferrari in it. Are you sure this is het right magazine you're refering to ?


Claire D. said...

Thanks Albert and Thierry for the info about the article and big big thnaks to Nicolas for sending me the scan!

I must indeed have mixed up things a bit. It's obviously not that article. I must keep on searching =D.