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Jonathan Vaughters Talks Doping Reform
The full transcript from our exclusive interview with the Garmin-Sharp boss
ByJoe Lindsey
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When Jonathan Vaughters published his op-ed in the New York Times admitting to doping as a pro cyclist, BICYCLING requested an interview hoping to learn more about why he chose to finally come forward, and what he hoped to accomplish with his admission. He declined to address his time on U.S. Postal, citing a wish to respect the ongoing USADA investigation into alleged doping practices on the team, but was otherwise open. In a nearly two-hour conversation at his Denver home, Vaughters talked in detail about his career, his decision to dope and struggles to try to be competitive without pharmaceutical help, and how those experiences shaped his interest in the sport’s reform. This transcript has been edited for clarity and organization, but is otherwise unchanged.

I’ll start with the fairly obvious question: Why now?
Well, I think when you look back at what the reaction has been from various people who’ve decided to step forward (and admit doping), it’s been for the most part fairly negative; sometimes extremely negative. People try to place that blame in a lot of places but what stands out in my mind is the reaction of the fans. Five years ago, when someone would step forward and say ‘Yeah, I did it,’ the reaction to that individual was amazingly negative. And basically, that person in whatever capacity they might have had to improve the overall situation by being honest, they were immediately pushed aside. They never got any opportunity to help the sport to move the right direction, or even for their knowledge to have an impact on anti-doping efforts. It was immediate—they were basically neutered from any potential movement. That is obviously very dissuasive to coming forward and talking about what happened. I think basically, just as it took all the way until 2008 until I felt the time was right, that the sport was ready to have a team that was outspoken about anti-doping—that that wouldn’t have worked in 2004, or in 1996 but it did in 2008—and so it took until now for an admission to have a positive impact on the sport as opposed to a negative.

Did that negative reaction come just from fans or from others? I recall a fair bit of negative reaction from institutions as well.
That’s hard to say. You’d have to ask the individuals (who admitted) what their experiences were, but from my observation as a spectator to those events, those guys were called names and mocked by a lot of different people. It was coming from all angles.

One of my first experiences with that was the reaction to Paul Kimmage, when Verbruggen said it was simply sour grapes from guys who couldn’t cut it anymore.
Yes—I’m first to say that without—let’s start with Kimmage, and I’m sure there was someone before that, but that without Kimmage, without Frankie [Andreu], without Floyd [Landis], Tyler [Hamilton], without Jorg Jaksche, [Bjarne] Riis, you can go on and on, without all these people, the op-ed I wrote and the impact I feel like it’s having, I don’t know if that would be possible without those people. In fact, I’d say it probably wasn’t. I feel like the only reason, in a roundabout way, everything that Floyd went through and the scandal of [Operación] Puerto, like those two things, that whole three-year period, the pressure that put the sport under to clean up and put in new measures and the scrutiny it was under, that was the soil that allowed [Garmin’s] Ryder [Hesjedal] to win the Giro d’Italia clean. To me it’s not separable. If you have no Puerto, you have no Floyd Landis scandal, can you win the 2012 Giro clean? I don’t think so.

Because what else would force the sport to change?

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I'm not sure what the big deal is about doping. If you can go faster by improving your ability with science then why not? It's like telling someone not to go on the Venus Factor diet plan because it's got an unfair advantage in that it's a diet based on science.
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You’d have to ask the individuals (who admitted) what their experiences were, but from my observation as a spectator to those events,torrent videos those guys were called names and mocked by a lot of different people. It was coming from all angles.
Appreciate it JV, in addition to many thanks, too, May well Lindsey in addition to Cycling, for getting this specific around. And here is yet another political election regarding real truth in addition to getting back together. The experience owes the item for the neo-pros, this jr competitors, and in many cases different children that most likely are not from the game nevertheless who definitely are seeing in addition to diffusing instructions concerning living on the conduct of parents to fresh air this specific available, study from the item, in addition to move ahead. Your discomfort of tearing off the Band-Aid is usually nothing at all when compared to the profit the game may obtain simply by received it proper in the years ahead. запчасти для балканкар
Nicely done full transcription of Jonathan Vaughters interview!! I think whatever he allocated in his interview is quite inspiring, though by admitting to doping as a pro cyclist bicycling post is quite educative for me. Thanks. Transcription
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Vaughters is a looney.
Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think. Do you think so? Prep Exams
With all the news every month pouring out from the top about our heroes either coming clean or fighting for their reputations, this topic seems far away. Readers should not forget, in the past 2 years there have been more and more masters and amateur racers taking part in PED's just to get to the next level or recapture some form. This does not just affect the top....it affects anybody who pins a number on their back. The professional ranks has systems. Those systems are clearly trying to catch up with the money and systems of the cheats. At a grass roots level though, it is up to us. Check out what is going on in Florida to see what can be done all over the country so our juniors and next wave of talent learns young there is a right way and consequences. www.floridacleanridefund.com
Great interview. While he's probably a positive force in cycling, it's still somewhat disconcerting that he's a team leader. As Greg LeMond has said for years and years - go after the team leaders, coaches, doctors. There is no place for JV, Bruyneel, Aldag, Riis, etc. All this talk about how things are cleaner sounds just like 1998/1999/2000 after Festina. Anyone that follows the sport knows that the peleton is dirty.
Jesus Manzano. Without him, no Puerto. And he was totally vilified.
Thank you JV, and thank you, too, Joe Lindsey and Bicycling, for getting this out there. Here's another vote for truth and reconciliation. The sport owes it to the neo-pros, the junior riders, and even other kids who might not be in the sport but who are watching and absorbing lessons about life from the behavior of adults to air this out, learn from it, and move forward. The pain of ripping off the Band-Aid is nothing compared to the benefit the sport will receive by getting it right going forward.
...for being this honest, for going into such detail, for being the eternal optimist. You have my respect.