Greg Lemond

In my previous post, I referenced BikeSnobNYC’s post on the Velonews-Mavic situation.  In that post was a very interesting video of a speech by Greg Lemond at a Play the Game anti-doping conference.  In it, Greg blasts cycling, UCI, Lance, America and everybody else he can think of other than the French.  He now loves the French.  It was unbelievable.

He first talks about how he is simply the greatest cyclist ever solely because of genetics and that everybody since him that has been successful was doping.  Except Pantani.  He then goes on to talk about how he invented the hard shell helmet, power meter training, and aerodynamics.  Now, we do know he played a role in the development of those things, but come on. 

He trashes UCI for being corrupt, the riders for all being dopers and the directors and media for allowing it.  But claims that nobody doped in his day.  Again, come on.  Just read Joe Parkin’s book about his 7 years in Europe.  He was on ADR’s B-team the year Greg won with ADR.  Joe sure doesn’t deny that there was rampant amphetamine use during those days.  Does that not count Greg?  And what about Pantani? Do you really think that guy wasn’t doping?  Greg has claimed in the past and in this speech that everybody who has beat Pantani or his times must be doping. But not Pantani.  Really?  Pantani OD’d in a hotel.  And how can you say that it could only be drugs when you claim your own success was due to genetics?  Are you, Greg Lemond, the zenith of human evolution?  Are you the greatest genetics can ever give us in cycling? How arrogant! 

And lets not forget the technology you have created.  Even though you recognize that monitoring power and the use of aeroequipment certainly helped you, do you not think that 20 years later it can do a hell of a lot more than it did in your day?  The first day I rode a 15lb carbon S-Works I thought I was in bike heaven!!  I finished my ride faster and with much more energy than I had ever even come close to on a top-end aluminum bike.  Do you really think that faster times don’t have anything to do with these rocketship bikes that weigh half of what yours did and are torsionally stiffer several times over?

He also accuses Dr. Ferrari of not knowing what Greg’s SRM was in 1986 when they met.  According to SRM, that was the year they were founded, and Greg was one of the very first to ever use that sort of thing.  How would Ferrari know what it was?  Nobody but Greg and SRM knew what it was, and how does that prove that Lance doped?  Come on!! 

Then he goes off on how everybody blindly defends the all the American riders and that we all blame the French for anti-American sentiment causing everybody’s doping problems. He claims that they all cheat and there is no transparency.  Really?  What about Team Columbia?  What about Garmin-Chipotle?  What about the fact that Lance took his 31st unannounced out-of-competition doping control just yesterday, only to have UCI and USADA show up at his house again today for #32 and #33?  And he has passed every one.  He publishes his blood data for the world to see. 

He then praises the French and ASO and talks about how great and fair they are and how he has always loved the French.  Really?  What about your special you did a few years ago for OLN (now Versus) where you talked about how the French hated you and you and your family feared for your safety?  What about when you talked about how careful you were in doping controls to make sure your urine was not tampered with? 

Then, and most offensive to me as a prosecutor, he announces that WADA and USADA labs have higher standards than criminal courts in the US.  U-N-B-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E.  I am proud as a prosecutor that I have the highest burden there is in the law.  Anywhere.  And from what I have seen, WADA, USADA, CAS, and UCI come nowhere close.  I believe their testing procedures are accurate, but even you, Greg Lemond, will agree that there are break downs in the chain of custody. 

The fact is, Greg Lemond thinks he is the greatest cyclist that ever lived.  Even said it in his OLN special.  He stated that he beat the best (Bernard Hinault) at his best, thereby implying that Greg must be the best cyclist in history.  He thinks that it would be impossible for anybody to ever be better than him without cheating.  Thus, every cyclist that can accomplish something that Greg never did, must be cheating.  That is the most arrogant thing anybody could possibly think.  Get over it, Greg.  They are better than you.  There will be some one day who are better than today’s best.  Get over yourself.  Its not about you any more.  Your day is done. 

Here’s the link to the speech for your viewing pleasure/disgust.

As an addendum, I must admit that he does make some valid points.  It is very clear that cycling needs a rider’s union to stick up for their rights to ensure that the labs, UCI and WADA are keeping up to standards and are transparent as well.  Also, I want to be clear that I believe DOPERS SUCK.  They ruin sport. See my other posts.  But Greg is still an arrogant punk.


~ by Velosophy Esq. on June 17, 2009.

9 Responses to “Greg Lemond”

  1. These are some thoughts. I’m not a criminal lawyer so I don’t know the level of care taken in the crime labs of America’s 50+ jurisdictions. He may have overstated it, but his point was that numerous — the Innocence Project says there have been 240 exonerations based on DNA testing — convicts have been cleared. He’s confused because it was the later DNA testing that exonerated them. But his point is that the testing in cycling is good stuff. Unlike a crime scene, he says cycling drug tests are structured, requiring an A and a B sample.

    And that your burden is beyond a reasonable doubt is irrelevant to the question of the testing of evidence presented to a jury to meet that burden, one of those apples-to-oranges things.

    As to your “even you,” he says that for cycling tests, “if there’s any corruption, it’s going to be between the collection of the sample and the arrival of the sample at the lab.” (41:00.)

    And do you disagree about the legitimacy of “circumstantial evidence”?

    Good thing you weren’t prosecuting Marion never-failed-a-drug-test Jones. You miss his point that good, bad, or indifferent, one’s performance tends to be consistent over time. So, although he doesn’t say it, one doesn’t go from being a good classics/mediocre stage-race rider to being a great stage racer.

    I don’t know where he says that no one doped in his day, or that everyone dopes today. I don’t know where he says that Pantani didn’t dope since he says that “he was left out in the cold” because he was a user, “he did something wrong.” (46:00)

    One of the few “facts” on which you build your case is wrong; he says he met Ferrari in 1994 (it’s at 12:30), not 1986.

    Plea bargaining? Do you agree that that’s a good idea, provided the suppliers are found? Giving riders a second chance if they come clean?

    I don’t know what Lemond said on OLN, but he doesn’t say here that he was the best ever. So I can’t say as a “fact” that he thinks it. Nor do I know what he has said earlier about the French.

    As an aside, is it kosher to load up a post with tags that have nothing to do with the topic? “Rock Racing”?

    • 1. At least you recognize that you don’t understand criminal courts and burdens, but why do you still argue with the lawyer about them?
      2. It is foolish to say that crime scene testing isn’t structured. I have not found anything more meticulous and painstaking that crime scene investigation, evidence collection and testing. This is exactly why a comparison of burdens is relevant. Any flaws in the procedure and analysis in regards to evidence renders that evidence inadmissible or untrustworthy. Thus, it cannot be used to reach the truth, not just convictions.
      3. The Innocence Project’s numbers are greatly overstated. The fact is there are very few actual innocence cases. One was is in my jurisdiction, and it was our office that did the exoneration, not the Innocence Project. Though they came in on the back end with the exonerated’s family and took all the credit, they had nothing to do with it. And this is usually the case. They use fabricated documents and unethical tactics to get press with the goal of ending the death penalty. They do not actually do anything trustworthy in seeking exonerations. It is the prosecutors doing their job even after a case is seemingly over.
      4. Although the collection and transportation stage is the easiest place to corrupt testing, it is not the only place. Any expert in testing would know exactly how to fabricate the necessary paperwork, and by that I mean testing logs, etc., to fabricate a false test. Thus, your collectors, testers and administrators must be extremely trustworthy. And one can’t say that just because they are expert scientists that they are trustworthy. BALCO’s scientists certainly weren’t.
      5. What does me prosecuting Marion Jones have to do with anything? But since you bring her up, she was charged with perjury, not doping. No one, by results or testing in anyway could show that she doped. There was nothing unusual about her progression and success as an athlete. She got caught through bank records and a paper trail and was convicted of lying under oath with regards to her association with BALCO. Secondly, take Floyd Landis. There was nothing unusual about his progression as an athlete either. And on that famous stage 17, his power numbers were at or below his training numbers. After his initial escape, which was not unusual, he made up his time on the descents. He was the fastest descender in peloton, and could surely do it alone better than a group. Also, there were very few flat sections for the peloton to really be able to chase, and we all know that they can make up much more ground on flats than on mountains. Also, the 70+ water bottles he used to keep himself cool played a huge factor on his fatigue. He had everything he needed right there with him to succeed that day. Thus, whether he doped or not, his performance numbers do not tell the tale, his urine does.
      You may also look at Christian Vande Velde and David Millar, two athletes who are certainly clean. On the one hand, Christian’s performance has dramatically improved in the last couple of years, however, he has always had exceptional blood numbers. Thus, you cannot say he was doping, based on performance. The blood tells the story. And with Millar, his performance since his return from suspension has not fallen off. There is no real discernable difference in his performance when he was doping and since he has returned clean.
      6. The Floyd Landis case also further proves my point on burdens of proof, procedural requirements and reliability of testing. First, USADA ruled that Floyd was guilty 2-1. In a criminal case, the verdict must be given unanimously from a jury of 12 peers. Second, Floyd was largely convicted by the isotope test, which was not approved for use in testing at that time. WADA and USADA violated their own standards in hearing that evidence. That would not happen in a criminal case. The isotope test would have been thrown out. (That is not a comment on its accuracy, however. It is extremely accurate.) Also, this is not intended to put me on one side or the other in regards to Floyd’s case. From what I know, I do not think he should have been convicted, especially when the USADA’s top lab would have called the same results a negative. However, I will not say that I believe he is innocent either. I do believe that the urine that was tested, that was claimed to be Floyd’s, did have synthetic testosterone in it. Given the discrepancies in the record keeping, only Floyd and those doing the collectin/testing know whether that was actually his urine and thus I have no opinion on whether it was or was not.
      7. As far as the reliability of the other tests, they are the same as in criminal cases. They, and we, use spectrometry to identify substances. Whether it is cocaine, alcohol in a breathalyzer or PEDs in blood or urine, spectrometry is accurate. Every substance has a unique molecule that reflects light in a unique way, and thus can be identified in that fashion. Where it breaks down is in figuring concentration. The subject’s blood volume, lung volume, and blood composition must be taken into account properly. This is why the blood passport program must be in place.
      8. With regard to circumstantial evidence, it is highly reliable. You and Greg, however, do not understand its definition. Circumstantial evidence would include blood testing, fingerprints, etc. It is reliable when collected and analyzed under strict standards, according to proper methods, by trustworthy individuals. Direct evidence is simply some saying it happened.
      9. Greg does imply throughout his speech and in many other interviews that he raced against and beat clean people. This is largely because of his claim that Lance must be dirty because Lance beat dirty people. If Greg admits that he beat dirty people, he must also succumb to his own argument that he was also dirty.
      10. Greg did admit that Pantani did something wrong in his death and in his lifestyle in this speech. He does not admit that Pantani was a doper. He also implies here that Pantani must have been beaten by dopers when he speaks of Pantani being beaten. In other interviews, he has claimed that Pantani was clean and that anybody who can beat Pantani or Pantani’s numbers must be doping.
      11. Yes, I am mistaken about Greg’s date for meeting Ferrari. However, the Greg’s point does not meet scrutiny. Power meters were still rarely used until after 2000. Ferrari, like most physiologists, understands that blood monitoring is the best way to track results and improvements. I majored in exercise physiology, and all we did was blood test athletes. That is not to say that Ferrari wasn’t involved in doping, just to say he understood the importance of understanding the information in blood. WADA and UCI also understand this, hence the blood passport program.
      12. Yes, plea bargaining is a good idea, if the information given by the accused is accurate. It must be investigated and substantiated. This is how we do it in the criminal world. We use little fish to get to big fish, but we use them for leads, then go build the case ourselves with real evidence. If this is done, then plea bargaining will work. Blind accusations will not fly.
      13. If you don’t know what Greg said in his other interviews, then why bring it up? And if you admit you don’t know something, why do you feel the need to argue about it? You have already admitted you don’t know anything about it.
      14. Yes, it is ok to tag your blog with all topics involving cycling. This is a relatively new blog and I would like to attract readers. To do that, you must get them here. To get them here, you must make your blog show up on their radar. It is done with all websites, which is why search engines come up with all kinds of seemingly random results.

      • I just realized how my 1st reply will probably come across rudely. That was not my intention. It is always commendable to recognize one’s own limitations, whatever the topic. I am sure I know nothing about your profession as well. And I assure you I will not tell you that you are wrong about it. I do appreciate your input and comments. They are always welcome.

      • Actually my profession is the law, although not criminal law.

        I think you raise valid points on a number of fronts and I prepared a point-by-point response in which I acknowledged that, including that Lemond’s claim that cycling’s drug-testing protocol is superior to the standard in US courts is overstated. (I still don’t see why the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard makes a difference in the quality of lab-work.) You both agree on the key issue, i.e., that cycling testing is pretty good.

        But I decided not to belabor the point. I once asked a cyclist if he were a Greg or a Lance guy and he said “both.” But it seems to me, as reflected in the posts on the ClyclingNews forum and in my own mind, that ultimately one is either one or the other. Me? I think Lance used. (You can see why I think that from my blog, in which I’ve made a number of postings on the subject.) I’m older, and I remember Greg winning the Tour and he’s long been a hero, albeit a flawed one, of mine. So from my perspective I bristle at the sucking-up to Lance that I see (on, inter alia, Versus).

        That perspective colors my view. But on this speech, I think that Lemond had important things to say, without regard to whether he exaggerates his contribution to the sport’s technology or his own view of where he stands in the history of cycling.

        His love of the sport, for himself and through his son, comes through. His indictment of omerta in the peleton and the ostracism of those who violate that code. His acceptance of riders who come clean and pay their penalties. Instead we get BikeSnobNYC’s out-of-context characterization of his speech as an “embarrassment.” I came upon it via a Tweet calling his comments “idiotic.” And you label it with “disgust.”

        Hence my queries about certain items, plea bargaining, circumstantial evidence, etc. And as to those core issue, you agree with Lemond.

        My final question, however, was just rhetorical.

      • Beyond a reasonable doubt does not go to the testing itself, but to the suspension procedures and burden of proof required to sanction a rider for a possible non-negative doping control. UCI, WADA, and USADA have a standard much closer to preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt.

        I label Lemond’s speech with disgust because despite some of his valid points, he makes stuff up about other people. You can read a comment on my blog from a guy who worked with Dr. Ferrari, and by his account, Greg Lemond is lying about the encounter with Ferrari, as I believe Lemond has lied about several other things in the last few years. I believe the reason for his conduct is that he feels threatened by anybody who is better at something than he was. The things he has said in past interviews and in the speech which we reference is very good evidence of this.

        As to whether I agree with Lemond on some stuff, its not that I am agreeing with him, we just happen to have the same opinions about some stuff. Lance has been one of the biggest proponents of a riders union for years. There are lots of things in this world that people who don’t like each other can agree on. Protecting falsely accused individuals would be one thing that everybody can agree on, even Greg Lemond. Except if that person happens to be better than him. Furthermore, I would not say that I agree with Lemond on plea bargaining and circumstantial evidence. I seriously doubt that he understands what those things really mean and require. Maybe if he actually understood them, we may agree.

        How can you really say Lance doped? You do not know that. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. One can hope that he didn’t, but one should not hope that he did. Certainly you should agree that we should not make accusations where we have no real knowledge or evidence. I am sure you can bring up the re-test of the 1999 urine, but how do we know any of that is legit? The biggest problem with guys like Lemond, is that they are throwing out accusations without actual knowledge. That is not a practice we should engage in.

  2. […] to add II: I came upon a further, negative review of Lemond’s speech, at the site Of Bikes and Men. As I note in a comment I made, I don’t think he makes his […]

  3. Regarding Lemond’s comments about Dr Ferrari and power meters.

    Post #59 on this page is by Lo Scallatore who says;

    Now I don’t want to defend Dr. Ferrari, but I knew him while I was a medical student in Bologna, Italy during the late 80′ and 90’s. He was also one of the first Italians to race triathlons at that time. I also had the opportunity for him perform Conconi tests on myself and the other members of my team numerous times during that period. I remember seeing him in the fall of ’91 and discussing wattage based training methods. While I was a medical student, I had the type of conversation with him that he is referring to. Only it was in 1991. In fact, the office based Conconi tests were performed on a stationary cycle that read watts. He was obsessed with watt/kg numbers. Lemond makes some interesting points when he discusses doping, but this statement is flat out wrong. Unfortunately, there are very few people who can call him him out on this type of stuff. Now it makes me wonder about the other stuff he spews.

  4. So we find out what we suspected, lance used. what we also find out is all of his competition for the overall did too.

    EPO is a simple drug. It doesn’t take a big budget evil genius to design a program so the reasoned decision everything but. It actual uses certain overtakes in certain races as “Proof” he was doping. How fricking reasoned is guilt by video tape of something that in not actually proof of anything more than him passing another rider. I’d actually been trying to read the thing until I got to that point. “kangaroo court” came to mind.

    The thing about Lance though was that he looked at it as a way to train harder. He had to go deeper and ride harder and longer to create the actual fatigue that gives you strength and endurance gains. No pain, no gain and nobody ever out trained or out suffered Lance Armstrong.

    I think other guy saw the awesome difference EPO created and though that was enough. Lance out trained them, out smarted them, out suffered them AND, as proved by his survival from such a serious cancer, had an innate genetic gift that enabled him to out recover everybody. That may have been the best of all.

    By the first year of the comeback riders were biochemically in a box and Lance was trying to prove he could win no matter what the rules were. Contador attracted an early stage after being told not to do so (and picked up a tow from a camera bike) and Lance couldn’t make it up on the stage where Contador got caught up stupidly in a very predictable wind shift.

    After that Lance was the perfect support rider and would have finished second if he’s not been protecting Alberto. 3rd proved he could compete no matter what rules there were. Eventually even Alberto got caught and since then has never been to dominant rider he had been.

    The second time simply all the good breaks of the seven year strech of wins turned to bad breaks including the worse possible place for a flat tire and it was all over.

    All of his streak contenders we found to be dopers yet it remained as hit had been from his first win Lances head they needed on a pike.

    But don’t get it confused because of the doping vulture culture that came out of the cyclingnews forums, everybody that went up against Lance as a contender will say privately or publicly that he really was that good.

    Now we’ve got bed and water racing, and frankly, it’s boring me to find stages in stage racing that become glorified training rides with everyone having to save energy for some other day because they can’t work as hard and don’t recover as well.

    We all know that what riders are asked to do in the grand tours is frankly inhuman, yet some stand back aghast when someone tried to gain an advantage.

    Any high level pro in any sport will tell you the rules are NOT what’s in the written rules. The rules are what you can get away with and if they can’t live with that they won’t be great players.

    With cycling as your chosen profession years before, to find 2/3 of the grand tour field was doping you’d have been STUPID not to.

    And No, there is NO way Greg could have beat Lance clean.

    And something I want to get off my chest that calls the whole drug testing relationship with the organizers and governing bodies in question. Floyd Landis was not guilty of what they said he was. I’m pretty familiar with testosterone and it does NOT give short term gains that would explain his runaway win. He has since admitted he was guilty of doping but not of the doping they accused him of. Now, I hate the weasel for timing his accusations about lance so it sucked the life out of the one time I got to see Lance ride. Tour of California, San Francisco to Santa Cruz (where I once lived for 9 years) It was a tour Lance wasn’t there to win but still it was all anyone wanted to talk about.

    It’s not hard to see what Landis is really saying when he said guilty, but not of that. He had transfused the hell out of himself and for whatever reason, screwed up test that would have left doubt? or mishandled sample? or what ever reason they had to thing they’d have to think they’d have trouble making it stick. So, if they could manipulate Landis they could have manipulated Contardor the same way. Come on, how many times do you think they came across picogram amount that obviously gave no advantage and DIDN’T report it, not to mention it would have NOT been found had they used any other lab. If you’re test lab standards clearly show that beyond a certain amount certain things are not important, why use the finding of a lab that can find that unimportant amount?

    What I’m saying is you can’t trust the sanctioning bodies any more than you can the riders. But the athletes are just doing what athelets that want to be champions do. When unseen powers create unethical delemas it puts every single damn rider in the sport at risk from the whims of hidden agendas. I think THAT is more insidious that the actual doping.

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