DECEMBER 10, 2007
Sports doping scandals can come in many different flavors in the Tour de France. They can be based on drug use (Floyd Landis) as well as based on no drug use (Lance Armstrong). In Floyd’s case, the scandal was based on a positive doping test (which was more than just a little bit nonsensical) and in the case of Lance the scandal was based on a negative doping test (which was more than just a little bit nonsensical).
Lance even made it cool to wear silly plastic and rubber bracelets. Well, if not cool, acceptable – when it’s done for charity. You can get away with a lot when you’re famous and reasonably well liked. Lance got away with the rubber bracelet thing. Kid Rock, as another example, was able to get away with having a mullet – though he wasn’t able to make them come back into style, or make it acceptable for anyone but him to have one.
Still, you have to admire people who are able to make the unacceptable into something acceptable.
One thing that I doubt will ever come into style is snitching. Tony Soprano, from my native New Jersey, made it forever (still) unacceptable to be a snitch.
And that’s why another Tour de France rider is now finding himself without a team to ride for. Jörg Jaksche admitted earlier this year to doping and in the course of doing so, not only snitched out his current team mates and the staff of his racing team, but also previous team mates and the management of those former teams as well. He even went so far as to be a key witness against them.
He decided to turn whistleblower after his “doctor” had been arrested in connection with sports doping by Spanish authorities. His conscience works better when he’s about to get busted himself it would seem. He also seems to think that because he never “overdid” it, it’s somehow more acceptable:
"Yes, I did dope, but I never overdid it," “I never took artificial hemoglobin or stuff like that, where you can get an allergic shock. And you calm yourself by saying that a guy who does bodybuilding takes 16,000 units of growth hormone a day, and I only took 800 units once in a while for regeneration. Then you think: Well, it's not that much after all."
*[For those of you who are familiar with growth hormone, let me assure you that he has these doses totally wrong]
At this point his career is over because the team he had been racing for was disbanded, he can’t go back to any of his old teams, and no new team wants him.
And I say he got what he deserved.
His career as a professional bicyclist is over, and he’ll likely never work in that industry as a coach, manager, trainer, etc…ever again. The governing body of professional cycling had suspended Jaksche when he turned whistleblower, but he was given a reduced (1 year) ban from competing in professional cycling…after he turned in every former teammate and manager he’d ever had, and hung them all out to dry. He even offered himself as a witness for several anti-doping agencies as well as professional cycling’s governing body.
Now that his suspension is nearing its end, nobody wants him around.
If I were a professional cyclist, I certainly wouldn’t want him anywhere near me, whether I was clean or not. In sports, there’s a certain locker-room code that everyone is supposed to live by…and what happens in training, on the field, and heck – even on the road or in the clubhouse, stays there.
I’ve been on both sides of things; as a coach as well as having been a player, and there’s no team I’ve ever been associated with who would want a snitch on it. Additionally, in the professional ranks of bicycling, nobody is going to want someone who has been associated with “cheating” associated with their team or their brand/sponsors.
So although he succeeded in getting his official ban for doping reduced to only a year, it’s very likely that there will now be an unofficial lifetime ban on him.