The fallout from the USADA report continues

News & Results

10/30/2012| 1 comment
by Neil Browne
Team Sky Procycling's Dave Brailsford. Did someone say a Spanish Inquisition? Fotoreporter Sirotti

The fallout from the USADA report continues

Did someone say a Spanish Inquisition?

I knew too much about him other than his racing resume. And looking at it I wouldn’t have picked his name as someone who had doped. Yes, he was third in the 1998 Tour de France, but that was after half the peloton dropped out in protest of the police raids or were kicked out. Regardless, there he was on the redacted names list as possibly being “rider 4.”

Lo and behold last week Team Sky issued another press release and stated Julich was shown the door after admitting to doping from the years 1996 to 1998. He stopped because his wife found out and wasn’t happy about it. Frankie Andreu also quit doping after his wife Betsy Andreu found out. I think the lesson here is that cyclists need a strong-minded partner in their life. If left unsupervised they can get into trouble.

Now the Team Sky purge became a game of “who would be the next person fired?” Even money was on director Sean Yates. He’d had his photo taken a couple of times with the infamous “motoman” and had been Armstrong’s teammate, as well as director. Unfortunately Yates didn’t get the memo that the “old guard” of the peloton were confessing their past sins. He was still entrenched in the omertà stating that all he did was show up at the races, drive the team car and bark some orders through the race radio. He claims to have not seen any doping.

Coincidentally Yates decided to retire from directing cycling due to “family reasons” this past weekend and it had nothing to do with accusations of doping. If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. Then on Monday ex-pro and part of the management team of Sky Steven de Jongh officially got the axe.

The Team Sky press release stated, “Steven disclosed that he had taken a banned substance earlier in his career as a professional rider.” Boom – he was gone. It’s bad enough to be publicly fired, but the kick to de Jongh’s nuts is in the second to last paragraph from Brailsford.

“Steven deserves our respect for the courage he’s shown in being honest about the past and it’s right that we do our best to support him.”

What? How is that support by kicking him out?

While I applaud Sky for trying to keep their team clean this Spanish Inquisition is not an effective method. It leaves someone with two choices: confess and be fired or lie about their past and continue the omertà. It’s a lose/lose proposition and an idea coming from a place of panic. A good leader doesn’t react to a situation, but is proactive. By that I mean Brailsford should have done his homework thoroughly.

A quick look at these guys’ resumes on Wikipedia could have alerted him to some possible red flags. “Hmmm…Yates rode for Armstrong and was his director too. Maybe ask about that?”

And quickly tossing these guys out of the organization for something that happened 15 years ago isn’t going to help. Instead he

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I get the sense that Neil will be forgiving every rider, doctor or team director that has been connected with a doping past, as long as they were ones that previously gave Neil an interview or the time of day. Lance isn't one of those riders, Neil treats Lance like a bitterly divorced spouse.