Fat Pat’s Doping Amnesty

    McQuaid back in the days before his lifetime Olympic ban (Rex Features)

It’s been a big few weeks in cycling. Lance took his ball and went home, renowned carnivore Alberto Contador has all but won the Vuelta a España, his first GT back, and good old Tyler Hamilton has released his book named The Secret Race. I’ve certainly never heard of that race, maybe it was cancelled due to lack of funds?

In addition to all that, Garmin team boss Jonathan Vaughters has been posting on CyclingNews forum, telling a lucky few (later the entire cycling world) about his own riders past indiscretions. He also outed Thomas Dekker as an “arrogant prick” a few days before his birthday, which is something. Oh, and Johan Museeuw confessed again. Is he Catholic?

So it would seem that the cycling world is falling apart, or at least American cycling. Is falling apart the right term? Anyway, I guess we can all sleep safe knowing that Fat Pat is busy holding everything together. After all, he held together The Conspiracy™ for long enough (allegedly). Patty has already said that he will be asking for the Garmin boys’ files so that he can “investigate further”. Suddenly he trusts the words of an admitted doper who lied/kept quiet about it for years? Tough break, Floyd, Tyler, Jörg, Bernhard, Jesús..

Anyway, ploughing on to the main point, today Portly announced that his personal fiefdom is considering an amnesty in which riders, ex-riders and staff could confess to doping offences. He was unsurprisingly vague about it, saying that he will bring it up “at the management committee of the UCI and it’s something which we would look into possibly doing.” It is hard to imagine that an idea like this could be successful if implemented, but somewhat less hard to imagine that this is Pork’s way of clinging on to power after the staggering shows of open corruption we have seen in the USADA vs Lance case.

With the Lack Of Information(©UCI) we have about this proposed amnesty, it is tough to speculate as to what might happen were the idea to be put in place. I can’t see why any current rider would own up, given that they are currently getting away with it, and also considering the inevitability of sanctions against them. Anonymous confessions might be a better idea, with people giving information about how they have been cheating the system. But we are still left with the same question – why would successful cheaters give up their secrets? Heck, even Saint Millar has said that he would still be doping had he not been caught.

The best chance the sport has of moving forward is either if the UCI is cleaned out, with corrupt Prat and his cronies gone, or for retrospective testing to become a reality. Seeing as this is something that McQuaid has said in the past that the UCI won’t do this (CONI retested the 2008 Giro samples at the behest of public prosecutor Benedetto Roberti, and the AFLD retested the Tour samples from that year) – it looks as if the best course of action would indeed be to do the two things above in that order.

    Pat experiences the familiar sensation of wind whistling in through one ear and out the other (AFP/CyclingNews)
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