UKC

/ Wiggo and useless journalism

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richnoggan - on 06 Mar 2018

Just watched the bbc interview of Wiggo. Whatever the rights and wrongs of it, I've always liked the guy and I feel bad for the him. The thing that stood out for me though is how bad the questions were.

The guy asked him whether it enhanced performance and he basically said yes, in the sense that it helped with my medical condition, if I didn't have it, I'd likely have had an asthma attack and I wouldn't have won. The the interviewer just left it at that. 

He didn't go on to ask - "did it enhance performance in other ways as well?", "did it help you lose weight?", "did it help you improve power to weight ratio?", "why did you take the medication as opposed to others that don't help you cut weight?", "do you believe that choosing this medicine as opposed to others was because it helped performance in other ways as well?"

Not sure if it's incompentence or deliberately letting him off lightly (in terms of the interview, obviously he's paying a heavy price). Eitherway pretty rubbish journalism.

 

 

3
handofgod on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

This is a sport with doping at its very core. A sport where performance enhancing and shaving off milliseconds can be the difference between glory or disappointment.

There is no smoke without fire.

I suspect the drugs were taken to enhance performance, but is this wrong when everyone else is taking them too..?

But yes BW seems like a the type of guy you'd quite happily sink a few jars with. 

Unfortunate, for him; his whole life since being in the limelight is about to be scrutinised by the usual rags.

 

 

Post edited at 15:39
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nniff - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

IMHO, the Select Committee's report is hypocritical in the extreme.  They operate under Parliamentary privilege which excuses them from the burden of proof with which others have to carry.  They then come out with guff such as “From the evidence presented to the committee it might appear that Bradley Wiggins may have been treated with triamcinolone on up to nine occasions, in and out of competition, during a four-year period. It would be hard to know what possible medical need could have required such a seemingly excessive use of this drug.”

"Might appear"? "May have"?   "It would be hard to know"?  What sort of weasel words are those?  Don't talk to me about crossing ethical boundaries unless you are prepared to stand up, outside your little safety net, and say categorically that Wiggo and Sky did something that was not permitted, and then prove it.  

And as for the BBC last night running a segment flaming everyone, but with a big foot-high banner behind the presenter saying 'DRUG ALLEGATIONS'.  Ethical boundaries?  You have got to be effing joking.  

 

Post edited at 16:22
2
nniff - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

Oh, and while we're on the subject, why not have a pop at Linford Christie for "Going on the 'B' of 'BANG!'".  Surely, the ethically correct stance would have been to wait until the dot of !

Or have a go at a team that purports to be Manchester United when it is plainly nothing of the sort.

By all means make some rules, but accept that as long one does not contravene those rules, then one is compliant with those rules.  If you don't like your rules, then change them.  Then you can complain that some teams are better at coming up with ways to be the most competitive within the new rules which gives their competitors an advantage (cp Formula 1).

I await with interest developments in the premier league to overcome the changes to come with Brexit and employment law (actually, I don't).

2
richnoggan - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to handofgod:

> I suspect the drugs were taken to enhance performance, 

I suspect that's the case too. My problem with the whole thing is that the interviewer failed to ask him if that was the case. Neither did the MPs apparently.

> but is this wrong when everyone else is taking them too..?

I think it probably is wrong but I don't judge the guy for it really, reckon I'd have done the same - if that's what he did - in his situation.

 

richnoggan - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to nniff:

I think it's just there way of saying it looks like this is the case on balance of probabilities. I think a balance of probabilities approach to this kind of thing is probably the right way to go. 

Sky and Wiggins, much as I like the guy (or at least how he comes accross), haven't exactly been fourthright about everything.

 

1
n-stacey - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

How many times did Lance Armstrong deny cheating?

2
richnoggan - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to n-stacey:

Not too sure, but I guess quite a lot of times. Why?

ClimberEd - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

> Not too sure, but I guess quite a lot of times. Why?

In his podcasts he still points out he passed 500 tests (when relevant to the subject matter) - in a 'tests don't mean shit' kind of way. 

Rob Parsons on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to nniff:

> IMHO, the Select Committee's report is hypocritical in the extreme ...

On the other hand, something does stink here. For example:

"The select committee inquiry states it asked Freeman to comment on the contents of the package. Rather than confirm what Brailsford told the committee – that the package contained “only fluimucil” – Freeman said he was unable to comment, on legal advice."

What - so the Doctor involved in Jiffygate won't answer a straight question to a Parliamentary committee. And cites 'legal advice'? Oh - great. Well that's helped to clear the matter up ...

 

1
Chris the Tall - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to nniff:

Problem is that the allegations have come from an anonymous source, but presumably one who is considered reliable. So yes it is against natural justice that Wiggins can't cross-examine this witness, but that's because he isn't on trial. Lots of people would love to see Wiggins (and Froome for that matter) stripped of their wins - Floyd Landis is very vocal today - but that isn't going to happen on the basis of basis of a parliamentary select committee.

So you can understand why Wiggins' feels his reputation has been smeared, but at the same time I still don't feel he is telling the whole truth

But what we have to remember is that taking Triamcinolone out of comp is not against the rules. Maybe it should be, but you can only change the rules for the future, not the past.

And this is why we have the drug rules - because if there is a benefit to be had then of course athletes are going to use them - it's only to be expected. And paranoia about what your rivals are doing fuels the arms race. Ethics are all well and good, but only rules can be enforced. 

nniff - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

> I think it's just there way of saying it looks like this is the case on balance of probabilities. I think a balance of probabilities approach to this kind of thing is probably the right way to go. 

No, it's not, not when people put their heart, souls and a lifetime of work into something with a defined rule set. 

Either show that the rules have been breached or shut up, don't bleat about it, insinuate and give yourself a hernia with the amount of hot air you're passing.  And if you have got a source, name him and give him  a straight-armed shove out onto the front doorstep and make him prove the veracity of what he has to say.   And as the Chairman of the PSC, stand beside him and make a categoric statement about what you believe to be the truth, and take the consequences if you cannot prove it.   And if you haven't got proof, despite the athlete having probably been tested more than most over many, many years, then what on earth are you doing talking about ethics when one of the defining principles of jurisprudence is innocence until guilt is proven?

 

 

 

Chris the Tall - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

The doctor could (and should) be struck off for his poor record keeping and dubious practices, so obviously isn't going to give the GMC ammunition

And just a reminder to people that Pantani's personal doctor is still working in cycling, recruited by a certain Vincenzo Nibali

nniff - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> Problem is that the allegations have come from an anonymous source, but presumably one who is considered reliable. 

The usual way to establish reliability would be corroboration from another source.  Another source seems to be conspicuous by its absence, and so conversely you should consider that source to be unreliable.

> So you can understand why Wiggins' feels his reputation has been smeared, but at the same time I still don't feel he is telling the whole truth

He may be, and he may not.  But the ethics of this thing oblige others to prove that he is not and  the case thus far seems to be that Sky operated within the rules but that the rules allowed a degree of interpretation, which is of course the way of these things.  As you say, if you don't like the old rules make some new ones and hold current competitors to those, but don't castigate those who adhered to the old ones.

 

 

richnoggan - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to nniff:

I don't think it's that simple.

If the real reason he's been prescribed the drug he was, rather than others, is that it improves power o weight I think that's arguably againt the rules and inethical. It's not possible to prove that sort of thing though, and I think a balance of probabilities approach is reasonable. This is particualrly the case for team sky and wiggo who have put themselves out there as taking a new, ethical approach.

Obviously some people - like you I guess - think anything is okay so long as you have a TUE. Just diffewent points of view I suppose.

4
nniff - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I wouldn't disagree that the medic's conduct has been less than distinguished.  In which case, castigate the medic, not Wiggo, because jiffy-bags and dreadful record-keeping is one thing, and an athlete's adherence to the rules is another.  Show an adverse test for testosterone or whatever, and you have a case for misconduct. 

Without that, you have nothing more than deficiencies in administration by a third etc and that is not enough to publicly flay Wiggo or indeed anyone of his ilk.  What you do have though, is proof through testing that the rules have not been contravened.

1
nniff - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

That's a very big word "if", but upon that the whole argument hinges.  Of course TUEs are difficult, because they rely upon a medical opinion that something is necessary.  But, and it is a big 'but', if an inappropriate TUE certificate is provided by a medic, then it is the medic who should be held to account.  At the moment, we seem to have entirely skipped that small burden of proof and have laid the blame at the feet of the team and the athletes.  And that is not correct.  If one is to do this properly then you have either to do the whole Michele Ferrari thing, or rely upon the testing regime in place to detect inappropriate use.  If there is no evidence of wrong-doing by the athlete, then you have no case.

cb294 - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to nniff:

No need to rehash the whole raft of threads from back at the time, but the mere existence of a TUE does not mean no cheating. Whether the athlete cheated (by taking a banned substance) or some dodgy medic working for the team did the cheating for the athlete (by providing an unwarranted TUE) makes absolutely zero difference. 

I am sure the content of the Jiffy bag will eventually come out, and if it was Triamcinolone it would not have been covered by existing TUEs (timing relative to race, delivery mode,...). Also note that Sky ordered something like 50 times more of the drug than they had covered by TUEs. Of course the good doctor used it up in his private practise, but unfortunately, the dog ate the documentation. 

The defence of Sky is bordering on taking the piss. 

 

CB

4
richnoggan - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to nniff:

There are different levels of proof one might require, and different ways in which the burdon might be spread. You think it should be one way, other people have different views.

I think it's useful to consider an analogy wof "bad" behaviour by company directors. The test in criminal court is based on the law and proof must be beyond reasonable doubt. The test for civil claim is also based on law and proof is on balance of probability. In the media they only need avoid liabling. The court of public opinuon can do what it likes. Parliament can also invetsigate and draw their own conclusions.

Take Capita for example. They may well have done everything within the law or in a way in which it's hard to prove otherwsie. But the papers can still report what happened and people can draw their conclusions about eithics and parliament can investigate.

It seems to me similar is happening for Sky and Wiggins.

Ex Poster 666 on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to cb294:

I watched Wiggo being interviewed last night and him saying about the negative effects all this is having on him and his family.
Trouble was, for me anyway, the way he was laying it on in spade fulls, give me sympathy give me sympathy we're so hard done by, to try and deflect the subject he's being grilled on.

I've enjoyed watching cycling for the last years, but I'm under no delusions that any of them are performing like they do, 'clean'.

Dave Garnett - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

> If the real reason he's been prescribed the drug he was, rather than others, is that it improves power o weight I think that's arguably againt the rules and inethical.

It seems to me that, as an asthmatic, Wiggins is apparently entitled to take appropriate medication to control it.  He's clearly improbably fit and so it seems unlikely that he requires anything more than the routine steroids and bronchodilators required for maintenance of well-controlled asthma. 

Which is not triamcinolone (a steroid that I once used to give people for mouth ulcers, as it happens).  As I understand it this is only used a last-ditch treatment for otherwise uncontrollable asthma, not least because of its side-effects. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cycling/2016/09/20/sir-bradley-wigginss-last-resort-drug-was-utterly-bonkers-say-me/

That being so, and assuming the team doctor isn't a complete idiot, they must have selected it for some other reason.

I suspect Wiggins just did as he was told, and was convinced that triamcinolone wasn't a banned substance (it isn't), and that it was OK to take it (it is, out of competition). 

To Brailsford it was just another marginal gain. F*ck knows how Freeman squares it with his conscience, his obligation to keep accurate records and his duty to his patient. 

richnoggan - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Hmmmm... not sure about this really. If it's as effective as David Millar said, Wiggins must surely have wondered, and given Sky's self promoted image, Brailsford thinking of it as just another marginal gain... 

 

abr1966 - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

Wasn't Millar taking Epo and Testosterone at the same time!? Hard to delineate effect if he was?

richnoggan - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to abr1966:

He said, “As I said in my book [Racing Through The Dark] [pre wiggins?], I took EPO and testosterone patches, and they obviously produce huge differences in your blood and you felt at your top level … Kenacort, though, was the only one you took and three days later you looked different.

“I remember it was one of the reasons I took sleeping pills because Kenacort put you on this weird high. It’s quite scary because it’s catabolic so it’s eating into you. It felt destructive. It felt powerful.”. 

That sounds like he was pretty sure about the effect of the particular drug, and that Wiggins would be as well. Seems pretty honest/plausible to me, particualrly if the book was pre Wiggins.

 

 

abr1966 - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

Thanks,.....I'm not sure what I think about Millar, also not sure what I think about the whole Sky thing....been a cycling fan and now ex competitor for a long time and hoped it was different now compared to the previous eras...just don't know what to think now but I'm off work tomorrow so will go for a ride!

Rob Parsons on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to nniff:

 

> Without that, you have nothing more than deficiencies in administration by a third etc and that is not enough to publicly flay Wiggo or indeed anyone of his ilk. 

Without going over the whole story again, don't forget that Wiggins has been far less than open about this entire subject. In his book, he said nothing about allergies, and said he hated needles so much that the only injections he'd ever had were immunisations. We now know that that was a lie: he'd been getting injections of triamcinolone.

The drip-feed of admissions and revelations doesn't help anybody look very good here. And all this against the background of Sky's whiter-than-white claim of 'racing clean.' Something stinks.

 

Post edited at 21:49
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Yanis Nayu - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

I’ve taken a small dose of prednisolone (a related drug) for 3 days for a bee sting in my mouth, and the effects were what Miller describes, although I didn’t lose weight. It was almost scary the effect it had on me, physically and psychologically. 

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Bee sting in the mouth is a good plausable excuse for cyclists. Can see that being the new TUE now nobody believes they are all wheezing asthmatics

1
Dauphin on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Fella could be struck off and end up with a spell in chokey. I'd be taking legal advise not to self incriminate also. 

D

Yanis Nayu - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Bit hard to fake though - my top lip looked like a frankfurter...

Siward on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> It seems to me that, as an asthmatic, Wiggins is apparently entitled to take appropriate medication to control it.  He's clearly improbably fit and so it seems unlikely that he requires anything more than the routine steroids and bronchodilators required for maintenance of well-controlled asthma. 

This I think strikes at the heart of this matter. Why are these super fit athletes so poorly that they need to resort to this drug? Does anybody here know anybody routinely taking this drug? If so, are they capable of winning even a local cycling race?

 

richnoggan - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Siward:

I think what they're kind of implying is that if you're riding the tour de france you want the strong stuff that will make as sure as possible you don't have an asthma attack or other breathing problem.

Also, apparently extreme aerobic exercise like road cycling can make asthma/inflamatory type stuff more likely.

 

Dave Garnett - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

> Also, apparently extreme aerobic exercise like road cycling can make asthma/inflamatory type stuff more likely.

This raises a point I nearly brought up earlier.  In other sports, many highly talented athletes are ruthlessly weeded out because they break down in training.  They have recurrent injuries based on tiny genetically-based asymmetries or anatomical quirks that, good as they are, ultimately mean they don't make the grade. 

Where are the limits to what it is permissible to correct/enhance for sporting purposes?  If it's OK for an asthmatic to be treated to the point they can become an Olympic athlete, what about treating an under-height (by the standards of the sport) teenage pole vaulter or basketball player with growth hormone, or an weedy but keen weightlifter with testosterone?  

Bronchodilators are a particular issue. I was (wrongly) diagnosed as asthmatic for decades.  I have no doubt that salbutamol improved my breathing whether or not I had the cough it was supposed to be treating.  If I'd taken it to 'prevent a cough' before a race, would I have been cheating?      

richnoggan - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Interesting issue. I'm sure this happens in cycling too, probably a lot.

I think it's just got to be a matter of degree. If it just fixes a medical issue and does nothing else to help, then it's defiitely okay. If it helps a bit but definitely needs to be done for mdeical reasons,, still fine I think. As the need for it to be done declines and/or benefits increase and/or alternatives exist the case for allowing becomes less and less. matter of judgement where the line is drawn.

Lionel Messi's an interesting example - growth hormone because he was very small as a teenager. I think paid for by a professional football club. When you see the speed of his wee legs you wonder if it's done more then help him grow height wise.

 

 

Chris the Tall - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Really interesting point, but the general rule is that it is OK to treat someone so that they are "normal" or "within a normal range" in respect of the feature they want correcting.

So corrective eye surgery isn't going to cause a fuss, and I'm sure Selena Halep isn't the only female athlete to have opted for breast reduction surgery. Growth hormone maybe acceptable for a small kid wanting to play football, but not for an already tall kid playing basketball.

EPO and Blood transfusions are clearly not valid if you are healthy, but no one says if you have a car accident or cancer then you have to make a choice between life-saving treatment or giving up your career.

So why should asthmatics have to make a choice between their career and breathing normally?

We have to remember that drug rules are not there to make the sport fair or exciting - they are there to protect athletes health. Use of EPO caused people to die in their sleep - it was rightly banned, but detection was difficult that not only did athletes know they could get away with it, they knew that there rivals would also be taking it.

Athletes need protecting from that sort of dilemma.

Dave Garnett - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> So why should asthmatics have to make a choice between their career and breathing normally?

But to what extent is using salbutamol 'breathing normally'?  Is being an extraordinary athlete just a career choice?  Isn't professional athletics the epitome of elitism?  

It comes down to working out the extent to which medical treatment can over-correct a deficit into an advantage.  In any event it seems pretty clear that using triamcinolone is not just routine asthma treatment and carries both obvious performance enhancement potential and definite health risks. 

 

Chris the Tall - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> In any event it seems pretty clear that using triamcinolone is not just routine asthma treatment and carries both obvious performance enhancement potential and definite health risks. 

Agree, but this is a matter for the UCI and WADA. The TUE system has been tightened up, but you can still use as much of this drug as you want out of comp. In fact you can use it in comp - up to certain threshold - and it is even possible that when administered via an intra-muscular injection you would stay below that threshold. So maybe Wiggins didn't even need the TUE, but the team got it just to be safe !

All of which implies that the authorities didn't, and still don't, regard this drug as being particularly potent or dangerous. Now this may change - lets be honest the drug has effectively had a massive ad campaign, so if it's use isn't already widespread it soon will be. But however much people like Landis bleat away, you can't apply the rules retrospectively.

One final thought - the beneficial side-effect of triamcinolene is, I believe, that it helps you shed weight without losing muscle - very useful for a cyclist. But probably more useful out of comp - when you are trying to keep your weight down, than in a 3 week grand tour when riders apparently find it difficult to replace the calories they expend.

 

richnoggan - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> you can't apply the rules retrospectively.

Two things.

First, it's not clear that he and/or his doctor/Team Sky didn't break the rules. If the true reason that they applied for the TUE is because of it's performance enhancing weight loss properties, and they didn't say this, then their application was dishonest so presumably against the rules.

Second. While you can't apply the rules retorspectively as Llandis suggests, you can make judgements about what went on and whether it crossed ethical lines, which is what the MPs seem to have done. As I've said above, no one would complain if MPs reviewed Capitas behaviour and found it morally wanting but within the rules at the time. 

 

richnoggan - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> you can't apply the rules retrospectively.

Two things.

First, it's not clear that he and/or his doctor/Team Sky didn't break the rules. If the true reason that they applied for the TUE is because of it's performance enhancing weight loss properties, and they didn't say this, then their application was dishonest so presumably against the rules.

Second. While you can't apply the rules retorspectively as Llandis suggests, you can make judgements about what went on and whether it crossed ethical lines, which is what the MPs seem to have done. As I've said above, no one would complain if MPs reviewed Capitas behaviour and found it morally wanting but within the rules at the time. 

 

subtle on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> One final thought - the beneficial side-effect of triamcinolene is, I believe, that it helps you shed weight without losing muscle - very useful for a cyclist. 

Probably very useful to the vast majority of the UK population, the NHS and the diet industry - where do you get some of that, how easy is it to buy and sell?

 

earlsdonwhu - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

One thing which seems easy to introduce would be to only allow a tour appointed doctor/ panel of doctors to issue TUEs rather than a rider's or team's own doctor. This would ( hopefully) mean they were 'neutral' and  common standards would be applied across the peloton. 

 

johnjohn - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

okay, my preseason conditioning owes more to IPA than EPO, but even my light recreational cycling would be less likely to happen without use of caffeine and ibuprofen...

It's such a fuzzy line between legit treatments for some medical conditions, that enhances performance,  and banned performance enhancement. But what is clear is Sky's and Brailsford's pushing the thing about their 'riding clean' for positive PR. That's what makes it hard not to smile when the sanctimoniousness/hypocrisy is held up to the light, mildly depressing though that is.

(Unrelated, media persona aside Wiggins is considered a 'complex' character, which code which is easily deciphered.)   

 

 

Chris the Tall - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

> First, it's not clear that he and/or his doctor/Team Sky didn't break the rules. If the true reason that they applied for the TUE is because of it's performance enhancing weight loss properties, and they didn't say this, then their application was dishonest so presumably against the rules.

And how do you propose to discern "the true reason". Now I think it's almost certain that everyone knew the drug had beneficial side-effects, but that's irrelevant unless you can prove the doc had absolutely no valid grounds for prescribing it. And even then it is the responsibility of the TUE system to validate it, so unless fraudulant evidence was supplied there is still no case to answer 

> Second. While you can't apply the rules retorspectively as Llandis suggests, you can make judgements about what went on and whether it crossed ethical lines, which is what the MPs seem to have done. As I've said above, no one would complain if MPs reviewed Capitas behaviour and found it morally wanting but within the rules at the time. 

And the MPs could recommend that Capitas be given no further government contracts. Likewise they can recommend Team Sky receive no more public funding. Oh hold on, they don't get any. 

Anyway I look forward to the Select Committee reviewing recent FA cup finals for ethical impropriety

Chris the Tall - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

The TUE system was tightened up around 2014. Previously it was a single doctor - Zarzoli ? - who did little more than rubber stamp all applications. Now I believe it is a panel of 3 and far less have been issued.

But even in 2012 it was an independent UCI official rather than the team doc who issued the TUEs. It's reasonable to assume he did apply common standards across the peleton, but of course the Fancy Bears were more selective. 

Eric9Points - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the

 

> And the MPs could recommend that Capitas be given no further government contracts. Likewise they can recommend Team Sky receive no more public funding. Oh hold on, they don't get any. 

> Anyway I look forward to the Select Committee reviewing recent FA cup finals for ethical impropriety

Or we can just thank them for pointing out that Bradley and the team he was in were taking the piss. Good to know.

Rob Parsons on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> Likewise they [MPs] can recommend Team Sky receive no more public funding. Oh hold on, they don't get any. 

Disingenuous. Sky and British Cycling - the latter of which was certainly the recipient of public funding - were joined at the hip (via Brailsford et al.) until very recently. In fact isn't it the case that the Jiffygate courier - Simon Cope - was the coach for the British Women's team at the time? (*)

So it is quite in order for the MPs to have made this investigation, and to retrospectively single out people who they think haven't behaved correctly.

(* Cope's testimony is a joke. He claims not to know the contents of a sealed bag which he was taking over international borders. Really?)

 

Post edited at 18:31
richnoggan - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Irrelevant to what though? Probably to any idea of retrospective punishment. Probably not to MPs reaching a view on whether behaviour was inethical. Certainly not in relation to the press and public reaching a view.

What kind of case is there no case to answer to? A legal case to retorspectively punish, probably. But I think there's absolutely a moral case to answer.... and they've not been exactly fourth coming in answering it.

I'm sure there's things the governement have power over or interest in... team Sky riders and coaches also ride and coach for Team GB. But eitherway just think of some company that doesn't get government contracts. MP's could still reasonably investigate potential unlawful and inethical behaviour. Find there's no proof of unlawful behaviour and comment on the ethics. They might review the press or parts of it for example.

If there were a similar issue with England players (even while playing for their clubs), and the FA wasn't seen as doing a good job of soprting it or being in a position to sort it, I don't see why MPs getting involved as per this report would be out of the question.

 

 

TobyA on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> Now I think it's almost certain that everyone knew the drug had beneficial side-effects, but that's irrelevant unless you can prove the doc had absolutely no valid grounds for prescribing it.

I read with interest a comment on FB from an old mate on this the other day. I don't think she has any real interest in cycling at all, but she is a consultant pediatrician, an asthmatic and a national level competitive power lifter (so presumably know about drug use from both her professional and sporting life). Anyway she reckoned she had prescribed that drug once in over 20 years to a patient who was hospitalised by the severity of his asthma. Her opinion was strongly that if a patient needs that drug, they should be in hospital not competing in elite sporting events and any doctor prescribing it to a cyclists must have been doing it for 'other' reasons than to treat asthma.

I wonder if there are any doctors (or asthmatics) here who would disagree with my friend's assessment of the drug?

ClimberEd - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to TobyA:

> Her opinion was strongly that if a patient needs that drug, they should be in hospital not competing in elite sporting events and any doctor prescribing it to a cyclists must have been doing it for 'other' reasons than to treat asthma.

 

That's probably true. But really, truly, which professional sportsman, when faced with drug A - fixes the problem, or drug B, fixes the problem and probably helps performance (and both legal) is going to say 'hey do you know what doc, give me drug A, I don't want there to be any chance of my performance improving.'

(or amateur for that matter!) 

 

 

TobyA on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

Yeah, I guess. Just listening to the Bespoke podcast on this issue. One of them actually read out the dictionary definition of cheating, his point being that even if they didn't break the rule of cycling for that year it was pretty obviously cheating that they were doing.

ClimberEd - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Indeed, but, outside of the UK tabloids and French spectators at the Tour, you can't string people up for cheating if it is within the rules. 

Yeah, it's shit, but also the way it is. In endurance sport this revolves around doping, in rugby, football etc they 'bend' what is allowed until they get given penalties and so on.

bouldery bits - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

Is this even news?

 

Sadly, if you're Winning in elite pro sport you're on the gas. Money talks.

1
Chris the Tall - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to TobyA:

This may well be true. But if so, why don’t the experts at WADA ban it completely in comp and only with a TUE out of comp? From what I gather this drug has been popular in the peloton for a number of years.

the rules are there to protect the athletes and WADA doesn’t seem to believe that they need protecting from this drug.

Chris the Tall - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Sorry, but in my view you cheat if you break the rules. Working to the letter of the law, if not the spirit, may not be ethical but nor is it cheating.

others would say it’s only cheating if you get caught

And I heard Michael Rasmussen claiming he didn’t cheat, because although he broke the rules, everyone else was doing the same thing. But that is definitely bollocks IMHO

richnoggan - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Uethical but not cheating... Tomato, tomato. And you don't even know if they they did work to the letter of the law. Say I've got a bike on one of the cycle to work type schemes where you get your tax back. And say one of the conditions of getting it is that my intention is for the primary purpose of the bike is to be commuting to work. If I really don't intend to use it to commute no one can prove it, but I've still broken the letter of the law. 

Innocent until proven guilty... sure, but only in the eyes of the law. Your either guilty or your not.

 

 

 

1
GrahamD - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

> Indeed, but, outside of the UK tabloids and French spectators at the Tour, you can't string people up for cheating if it is within the rules. 

It depends what standards you hold them to, doesn't it ? Wiggo, public darling and sports personality of the year, the front man in team Sky's highly publicised winning clean and no needles publicity was on a pretty high pedestal.  In the eye of the public, he may or may not be a drug cheat but he sure as hell is guilty of hypocrisy and deception.

ClimberEd - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> It depends what standards you hold them to, doesn't it ? Wiggo, public darling and sports personality of the year, the front man in team Sky's highly publicised winning clean and no needles publicity was on a pretty high pedestal.  In the eye of the public, he may or may not be a drug cheat but he sure as hell is guilty of hypocrisy and deception.

Quite possibly - I wouldn't presume to guess the 'majority opinion' (it's not my strong point ) - but I always thought Sky would push the rules whilst preventing team organised doping (EPO, blood bags, Ferrari, Fuentes etc.), that was my interpretation of what they said. I just saw Wiggins as sticking one to the Euros who couldn't believe Les Anglais could win bike races, rather than sticking one to the whole peloton of the doping era. 

 

ClimberEd - on 08 Mar 2018
cb294 - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

Excellent, thanks!

 

CB

Chris the Tall - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

I reckon Sky did stick to the high standards they launched with for a year - no needles, no cycling doctors, whiter than white etc. 

And after they were handed their arses on a plate in that disastrous first year there was a subtle shift in policy. The death of the soigneur at the Vuelta highlighted why they needed doctors with the right experience. And I reckon the senior riders and DSs wanted to go back to the legal techniques they had used at previous teams - IV recovery, out of comp drug use, TUEs etc. So now they were still clean, in terms of being legal, but were prepared to go right up to the line, as Brailsford himself acknowledged.

And then Lance went on Oprah and Wiggins won the tour and so the team was under extra scrutiny and had microphones shoved under their noses everyday, asking if they were cheating. So back came the zero tolerance rhetoric and exaggerated claims and out went Yates and Barry and I can’t remember who else. 

Now understandably all those who bought the Sky kit and got their stick on sideburns from the Sun will feel betrayed, and a lot of journos who were less than thorough will feel embarrassed, so the backlash is inevitable.

Sky not have been the most ethical team in the peloton in the last decade, but I would also say they were far from the worse, and comparisons with previous decades are particularly ridiculous.

Dave Garnett - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

> That's probably true. But really, truly, which professional sportsman, when faced with drug A - fixes the problem, or drug B, fixes the problem and probably helps performance (and both legal) is going to say 'hey do you know what doc, give me drug A, I don't want there to be any chance of my performance improving.'

Actually, that's exactly what I would expect a professional athlete to say and, in any event, they shouldn't ever be given that choice by the team doctor.

 

TheDrunkenBakers - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to the thread and all future and previous discussions on sport, regardless of type:

You might want to consider listening to last night's The Moral Maze available on podcast.

I didnt catch it all and will listen again when I have some time but it made for grim/depressing listening to someone who enjoys a whole range of competitive sports.


 

 

TheDrunkenBakers - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Actually, that's exactly what I would expect a professional athlete to say and, in any event, they shouldn't ever be given that choice by the team doctor.

100% agree.  If I could give you a 1000 likes I would.

Dave Garnett - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to TobyA:

> I wonder if there are any doctors (or asthmatics) here who would disagree with my friend's assessment of the drug?

As far as I can see the BNF doesn't even list it for use in asthma:

https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/triamcinolone-acetonide.html

It's used topically in tiny amounts for mouth ulcers (previously Adcortyl and now Kenalog), allergies and by injection as an anti-inflammatory (Kenalog).  I think it's also used as an inhaled aerosol (eg Azmacort in the US) for specialist asthma treatment, which is interesting because that suggests that it could have been used in this way to treat asthma without needing to be injected, if that what it was really being used for, although they would probably have argued that it would have a much shorter duration.

  

1
ClimberEd - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Actually, that's exactly what I would expect a professional athlete to say and, in any event, they shouldn't ever be given that choice by the team doctor.

Then you are incredibly naive

Siward on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I just don't buy this view, that one can cheat 'within the rules'.

Individuals know darn well if they are cheating. Just because professional sport of all hues is a grubby, money driven enterprise does not make it any the less discreditable.

The test should be, would you encourage your son or daughter to cheat 'within the rules' at school sports day? If not, then it ain't acceptable at any level.

Chris the Tall - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Siward:

Pretty naive to think that school sports day ethics can be applied at professional level. If the sports day had a cycle race, what would you think about someone who turned up with a £10k pinarrello ?

2
Chris the Tall - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Are you aware that Simon Cope is now a DS at Team Wiggins ?

And as I said before, the contents of the jiffy bag is of less concern to me than that the courier was a publicly funded coach for female cyclists moonlighting for a privately funded men's team.

I'm not saying that the select committee shouldn't look into doping in sport, but I would argue that the gender based disparity in funding, support and media attention is a far greater issue. And given that we have publicly funded bodies like British Cycling involved, then parliamentary censure would be appropriate.

1
Siward on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Which just goes to show how disreputable professional sport has become. Don't make excuses for it. 

 

2
Dave Garnett - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> I reckon Sky did stick to the high standards they launched with for a year - no needles, no cycling doctors, whiter than white etc. 

> And after they were handed their arses on a plate in that disastrous first year there was a subtle shift in policy.

That sounds about right to me.  I see Shane Sutton is now saying they crossed an ethical line and should all come clean, but I seem to remember him on a documentary not so long back coming close to admitting more or less the same facts but being pretty unapologetic about it.  As I recall, he seemed perfectly happy to go right up to the legal line, indeed rather a long way into the grey area, and had seemed a bit baffled by the concept of 'ethical' in the context of professional cycling.

 

Dave Garnett - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

> Then you are incredibly naive

Possibly, although I was coming more from the position of athletes being extremely wary of testing positive for anything even remotely dodgy.  

fred99 - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Siward:

How many footballers, at all levels, "shield" the ball out of play, whilst obstructing an opponent from getting to it ?

When I was younger this was "Obstruction", penalised with an indirect free kick. (My father was a qualified Referee -for up to Football League level).

Now I don't know if the rules have been changed, but "obstruction" seems to take place every 5 minutes, and with complimentary comments from commentators regarding such.

In my book it's still cheating.

cb294 - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Siward:

That is another interesting discussion. IMO, sport rules are essentially arbitrary, and pretty much a price list. In my own sport (judo), there is the additional complication of actions banned due to injury risk, but in a ground fight I would e.g. always grab my opponent's fingers and take the penalty for it before getting choked out. 

Probably more people will be familiar with the classic football example. Do you take the yellow for the team for a tactical foul? Depends, probably not when ahead. Do you take the DOGSO red? Probably not in tenth minute, but what about the 85th? 

I would be extremely pissed off with a teammate who would not haul down the opposition striker bearing down on our goal late in the game, even on a school sports day!

I appreciate that other think differently, which is why I never participate in our institute sport and games days, except mabye to play chess.

 

CB

1
richnoggan - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I'd say their parents are think their parents were idiots. I wouldn't think it's in anyway the same as doping.

Do you think that maybe you've got a lot invested in Wiggins and/or team Sky/British cycling and your trying your best (subconciously) not to lose that?

Chris the Tall - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Siward:

Sorry, are you saying that cycling teams shouldn't be allowed to use the best bikes? And therefore remove the impetus for manufacturers to innovate ? 

Chris the Tall - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to fred99:

That form of obstruction really annoys me, but it needs a change in the rules. As the rules stand it's a valid tactic and therefore not cheating.

Siward on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I would agree with richnoggan's reply at 11:25...

Chris the Tall - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to richnoggan:

Not quite - I'll never support any part of the Murdoch empire. Yes I was pleased when Wiggins won, but partly cos it increased attention on cycling as a sport in the UK, and got more people out on their bikes. And that makes it safer for me on my daily commute. 

But I've been following cycling long enough to know that it's a bit of a sausage factory - best not to know what's going on behind the walls - and therefore tend to enjoy the racing rather than pin my affections on particular riders. So I approach it with a certain scepticism and with open eyes - I don't see things in black and white. I can appreciate Contador and Valverde despite their histories. And because I don't put anyone on a pedestal they don't have so far to fall.

That said I will disagree with anyone who says nothing has changed - I'm pretty sure you no longer get riders shoving amphetamines up their arse or needles into their arms during races, or doing blood bags on the bus.    

Chris the Tall - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Siward:

> I would agree with richnoggan's reply at 11:25...

That anyone, from a parent to a pro, who spends £10k on a bike, is an idiot

Rob Parsons on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> Are you aware that Simon Cope is now a DS at Team Wiggins ?

No, I didn't know that. I will resist the temptation to read anything sinister into it.

> And as I said before, the contents of the jiffy bag is of less concern to me than that the courier was a publicly funded coach for female cyclists moonlighting for a privately funded men's team.

Both of those things matter a lot. (And the contents of the jiffy bag *will* come out at some stage - these things never stay secret forever - at which time we can all draw the appropriate conclusions.)

However it was indeed the second point which I was highlighting, and in respect of which I was responding to your previous trivialising wisecrack, namely:

"Likewise they can recommend Team Sky receive no more public funding. Oh hold on, they don't get any. Anyway I look forward to the Select Committee reviewing recent FA cup finals for ethical impropriety."

As a (tangential to this thread) PS: we shouldn't forget that the report of the Parliamentary Committee also gave a very well-deserved pasting to St. Coe - another old public favourite. The Committee seems to have done a thorough job, and I welcome its drawing of conclusions which others might not be in a position to publicly state.

 

Post edited at 16:09
DubyaJamesDubya - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> That anyone, from a parent to a pro, who spends £10k on a bike, is an idiot

Well, more money than sense which is not quite the same thing.

ClimberEd - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Well, more money than sense which is not quite the same thing.

Exactly. I know a hedge fund manager who spent about 10k on a custom build having just taken up cycling. I quote 'my wife spends that shopping on a Saturday afternoon, I'm damned if I am limiting my spending once a year on a new toy' .

GrahamD - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Well, more money than sense which is not quite the same thing.

Or to be even fairer, considerably more money than I've got to spend.  I always think if people get pleasure out of owning something as useful and healthy as a bike, good luck to them ! 


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