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LukasCPH

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Colombian cycling
« on: April 19, 2015, 20:59 »
Tidying up my collection of stuff that's been accumulating since last year, I'm finally starting this thread.

Colombian cycling is a weird one:
On the one hand you have the Colombian races dominated by the 'usual suspects' led by a certain Óscar Sevilla. And not only that - the riders that place on the podium, or even in the top-10, hardly ever make it out of Colombia or South America unless they can show results in non-Colombian (preferably non-Latin American) races as well.
On the other hand, riders that get next to no results at home completely obliterate the European U23 peloton as soon as the road goes even slightly uphill, regularly get pro contracts, and often go on to become big winners on the highest level.



It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Saldarriaga and his team in its various guises, first Café de Colombia-Coldeportes, then #472 472-Colombia, and now #postobon Manzana Postobón. Always with good results in Europe, passing many riders (Quintana, Atapuma, Cháves, Pantano, Henao, Parra) on to pro teams. Part of the bio-passport for years already although not required to, paying for it from the team budget.
I'd hold no brief for most of the riders that come from other *co teams, but with regard to these guys, I'm cautiously optimistic (yet well aware they might get up to no good once they're at another team).

When it looked as if they'd have to close shop last November, the unfettered gloating from many in the country's cycling establishment was hard to bear and spoke very loudly of the distance still to cover before we'll see anything resembling a fair and clean competition in this Andean heartland of cycling.

JP Villegas (now at Smartstop) had this to say back then:
https://twitter.com/lapuchis1982/status/535951099518529536
"With our DNA intact, our blood clean and our conscience firm, we overcome this moment with the courage to know that we're the only ones to have worked honestly and fairly. While the biggest frauds enjoy our sadness, their dark conscience will make them afraid to sleep with the lights out. I prefer leaving cycling to falling into the hands of evil."
Harsh words, but the things I've read about Colombia - a great source is the amazing Alps & Andes (formerly known as Cycling Inquisition) - sadly support it.


I won't trawl through the net right now to find more stuff on Colombian doping, corruption etc., but now the thread is up at least.
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    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #1 on: April 24, 2015, 02:26 »
    The full interview is a must-read for this thread.

    A CALM MIND AND CLEAR CONSCIENCE IN THE MIDST OF AN ONGOING STORM. AN INTERVIEW WITH SMARTSTOP'S JUAN PABLO VILLEGAS.



    Quote
    The team had trouble in Colombia, but did well abroad. You certainly did in the Vuelta a Mexico.

    That’s right, but let’s think in a broader sense, so that I'm not telling you about me, and what I won. Think back to when I first joined 4-72. Nairo was there, Esteban Chaves, Pantano, it was just an amazing amount of talent, all with internal testing, with a huge focus on clean sport, and strong ethical component to team. A team of guys who, we can see now, are capable of winning big races among the best in the world. And yet, that year in the Vuelta a Colombia the best guy in the team was maybe 18th in the GC. So that data point should serve as your answer. We won nothing, not even top ten.
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  • search

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #2 on: April 28, 2015, 22:59 »
    yeah, I missed your post, I just found that interview when I was looking for his race schedule, very interesting - and shocking - indeed.
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    L'arri

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #3 on: April 29, 2015, 08:04 »
    A guy wrote to me some time ago asking why I didn't publish all the filth about Colombian cycling. He said he could personally point to many, many cases but he would have to remain anonymous because he had received threats.

    I replied that the sources about Colombia were inconsistent and that I didn't publish unsubstantiated rumours, but the situation there does sound pretty sad. These fools have to realise that the big teams are not going to touch them with all that doping going on. It makes hiring a Colombian a potentially expensive lottery.
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    search

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #4 on: April 29, 2015, 08:26 »
    These fools have to realise that the big teams are not going to touch them with all that doping going on. It makes hiring a Colombian a potentially expensive lottery.

    oh, Astana had no problem at all with signing Lopez  :shh
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #5 on: April 29, 2015, 08:27 »
    oh, Astana had no problem at all with signing Lopez  :shh

    Yeah, sort of punches holes in my righteous indignation, doesn't it? :D
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  • just some guy

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #6 on: April 29, 2015, 08:49 »
    remeber that story about the jurno getting shot at after writing a peice on doping in Colombia (?  might be another south american country) I posted it here a couple of years, but not going to looking through my posts ( way to much sh*t ) and it apears my memory of things past not as strong as I thought  :lol
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    L'arri

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #7 on: April 29, 2015, 09:38 »
    remeber that story about the jurno getting shot at after writing a peice on doping in Colombia (?  might be another south american country) I posted it here a couple of years, but not going to looking through my posts ( way to much sh*t ) and it apears my memory of things past not as strong as I thought  :lol

    I think that was on the Alps & Andes site (formerly Cycling Inquisition) that Fus quoted above:

    http://www.alpsandes.com/posts/clinginquisition.com/2014/01/omerta-and-violence-cost-of-merely.html

    This is also a must-read for the thread.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #8 on: July 28, 2015, 08:27 »
    Juan Pablo Villegas has now retired from cycling as a result of the threats he received because of his candid interview. :(

    That, and another interview with him, is now up on Alps & Andes:
    http://www.alpsandes.com/posts/2015/7/26/threats-and-the-end-of-a-dream-juan-pablo-villegas-speaks-out-about-being-forced-to-retire

    I haven't read it yet, will do so later (and highlight the most important points).
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    benotti69

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #10 on: October 22, 2015, 15:59 »
    Yeah, sort of punches holes in my righteous indignation, doesn't it? :D

    I thought there were quite a few Colombians spread around WT teams. Henao, Uran, Quintana&Bro, Chaves i can name of the the top my head and I dont follow the team selctions closely.

    Not sure there is much of a lottery taking a Colombian over any other nation.
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    LukasCPH

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #11 on: October 22, 2015, 16:24 »
    Not sure there is much of a lottery taking a Colombian over any other nation.
    The Colombians that get signed by big teams are picked up because of their results outside of Colombia. Tour de l'Avenir, Girobio, Isard, Utah, you name it.
    Performing well in the Vuelta a Colombia or any of the national-level races isn't worth anything as far as getting a European contract is concerned - possibly on the contrary.
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  • hiero

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #12 on: October 22, 2015, 18:01 »
    Juan Pablo Villegas has now retired from cycling as a result of the threats he received because of his candid interview. :(

    That, and another interview with him, is now up on Alps & Andes:
    http://www.alpsandes.com/posts/2015/7/26/threats-and-the-end-of-a-dream-juan-pablo-villegas-speaks-out-about-being-forced-to-retire

    I haven't read it yet, will do so later (and highlight the most important points).

    This is sad. Unlike search, I am not shocked, nor much surprised. But I am deeply saddened. Both the continual extent and pervasiveness of doping, and the inability to maintain governments of law in most of the world. The situation in Colombia is old, but there were moments when it appeared that things might improve. But not since the US coke craze back in the late 70's early 80's.

    If I were Villegas and could leave the country, I would. I don't think they will leave him alone if they are bothering him over that interview.
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    hiero

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #13 on: October 22, 2015, 18:10 »
    btw - alps and andes says this in the following blog entry, nominally referring to sausage, but double entendre could be cycle racing:
    Quote
    ..but again, seeing how something is made is the fastest way to cure you of your love for it. At least that's often the case for me.

    http://www.alpsandes.com/posts/2015/7/7/attribution-amulets-and-sausage-both-proverbial-and-literal

    I hope our sport never stays so dirty that this becomes true for me.

    Ironically, perhaps in a way, the Colombian situation may be seen as validating current efforts of the UCI and WADA. If one assumes that JPV is accurate and honest in his observations - a stance I have very little difficulty with. Assuming that, since the TdC winners and top 20 are so greatly different than the clean riders - who are shown as going Euro and being top drawer - we can see this validates the conclusion that anti-doping efforts are both real, and effective. Not necessarily preventing all doping, but rather at keeping it in control sufficiently that clean riders are competitive.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #14 on: October 22, 2015, 18:23 »
    This is sad. Unlike search, I am not shocked, nor much surprised. But I am deeply saddened. Both the continual extent and pervasiveness of doping, and the inability to maintain governments of law in most of the world. The situation in Colombia is old, but there were moments when it appeared that things might improve. But not since the US coke craze back in the late 70's early 80's.

    If I were Villegas and could leave the country, I would. I don't think they will leave him alone if they are bothering him over that interview.
    Good news to come:
    https://twitter.com/mrendell/status/657243110808932352
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  • hiero

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #15 on: October 22, 2015, 23:16 »
    That would, indeed, be good news. Score one for the good guys.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #16 on: April 22, 2017, 11:39 »
    Nairo weighs in, saying out loud what everyone in *co cycling knows:
    http://www.lafm.com.co/deportes/nairo-quintana-arremete-la-dirigencia-del-ciclismo-colombiano/
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  • search

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #17 on: August 21, 2017, 18:54 »
    #0711 Alexandre Ballet (who did the race for the Swiss national team) says there were pills distributed openly in the Vuelta a Colombia by a rider called "The Pharmacist"

    http://noticiclismo.com/2017/08/18/graves-acusaciones-ciclista-suizo-uso-sustancias-dopantes-la-vuelta-colombia/

    edit: the original interview is behind a paywall unfortunately http://www.arcinfo.ch/articles/sports/cyclisme/un-peu-plus-pres-des-sommets-694098
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #18 on: August 21, 2017, 19:02 »
    #0711 Alexandre Ballet
    I did not clear that interview! :lol

    pills distributed openly in the Vuelta a Colombia by a rider called "The Pharmacist"
    No real surprise if you know Colombian cycling a bit.
    Good on Alexandre for speaking out. :cool
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  • search

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #19 on: August 24, 2017, 20:14 »
    The Colombian Cycling Federation has published an official statement...

    Quote
    (gt)

    The Colombian Cycling Federation informs the public and the entire Colombian cycling sector that a formal request has been sent to our Swiss counterparts regarding the statements of Mr. Alexandre Ballet, a cyclist who expressed through an interview, That one of the participants of the Vuelta a Colombia Oro y Paz distributed pills in the lot.

    For this reason, the governing body of the Colombian cycling formally requested through a letter addressed to the President of the European entity, Franz Gallati, that the athlete Alexandre Ballet is retracted safeguarding the name of the maximum event by stages of the country and the CADF , Since the controls were carried out correctly and effectively.

    The following is the official letter from the Colombian Cycling Federation:

    Bogotá D.C., Aug 18th, 2017

    Mr.

    FRANZ GALLATI

    President

    SWISS CYCLING

    Grenchen

    Dear Mr. Gallati,

    We are very concerned about the statements made by Mr. Alexandre Ballet to a Swiss media and to the Colombian radio in which he expresses that a runner, within the platoon of the Vuelta a Colombia, was distributing pills.

    Making such statements in that way is improper. If Mr Ballet saw anything irregular he should have notified the Commissioner UCI or the CADF Commissioner or the race director. That is why we hope that Mr. Alexandre Ballet clarifies that it was not his intention to say that Colombian cycling is dirty and that do not do anti-doping controls.

    I would like to make it clear that the four anti-doping agents sent by the CADF took 38 blood samples, and Dr Ton Verhagen, Anti-Doping Commissioner, took 48 urine samples from the leaders, stage winners and two runners chosen by raffle daily. If no Swiss runner had control it was because, either they were not leaders, or they were not chosen in the draw. That is why it can not be said that the controls during the competition were irregular.

    We are very surprised by these statements that leave a blanket of doubt about our organization and the procedures performed by the ICU / CADF, and also the immense effort to control doping, both in Colombia and the world.

    We reiterate, dear President, that Mr. Ballet must pronounce himself safeguarding the name of the Vuelta a Colombia and CADF, since the controls were carried out correctly and effectively.

    Cordially,

    Jorge Ovidio González Longas

    PRESIDENT

    ...blaming Ballet for his wrongdoing :lol :fp

    http://www.federacioncolombianadeciclismo.com/federacion/solicitud-oficial-fcc-respecto-a-las-declaraciones-del-ciclista-alexandre-ballet/
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Colombian cycling
    « Reply #20 on: August 24, 2017, 20:22 »
    The Colombian Cycling Federation has published an official statement...

    ...blaming Ballet for his wrongdoing :lol :fp
    Which wrongdoing, again? :slow
    "Die Gedanken sind frei", no?

    The Colombian Cycling Federation has a long history of corruption, nepotism, and other things that aren't squeaky-clean.
    I'd have expected nothing else than this faux outrage from them. :shh
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