I don't call myself a writer. I do consider myself a passionate coach, fan and cyclist. I think my position in the sport gives me insight that most don't have. However, this subject is a bit more complex because of the unique "proximity" I have to the announcement that NC rider David Leduc tested positive for rhEPO.
I have known,raced against him for decades. He has beaten me to a pulp on several occasions. Crits. Yup. Stage races. Yup.
Is this how we see David?
a person who acts dishonestly in order to gain an advantage.
By definition David is a cheater.
I received lots of emails/Dm's/messages after the announcement broke. I'm based in North Carolina. I have called hundreds of races David has raced in. I've seen him gut himself to win a race...one that actually put him in a ambulance.
David is a unique individual. He, from what I know, is uber intelligent. A philosopher of sorts. Owned his own business. A doper.
David was also an interesting interview. Quiet. A bit unassuming at times. A great technical racer. He would sit at the back of a race, 1 lap of a crit he would move to the middle, the next lap he was off the front in a winning move. His signature move.
One day he came up to me, while commentating, and he politely, quietly said "You're one of the best announcers I've ever heard". Walked off. Quietly. That's about all he has EVER said to me outside of "post race interviews". (Sans a training camp in Florida we all did together eons ago). During bike races David wanted to rip me..or anyone to shreds. Don't get me wrong. He does have his moments in group rides with people he knew. I'm sure lots of pros and elite guys can chime in on what they thought or how they felt about Leduc. That's not for me to judge. I can only comment on my experiences with David.
It's funny how we all are first to jump on board and say..."yeah, we all knew he was doping". I guess it's all easy for us to say it now. But, yeah, over the years I did hear. "How did he just win a Masters 35+, Masters 45+ and Pro 1/2 crit in one day?" (Yeah he did that one time) I call them "undergroud grumblings". Quietly.
It really is a testament to how driven, crazy insane masters racers are driven to win. It fills a hole. This is their drug. Because, in some cases, if it wasn't for racing it may be drugs or alcohol or....another way to fill that need/itch.
I know that we would love to remove doping from our sport. It will never go away. When there's pride and money (yeah, it's small money, but it's not really about the money for masters, it's the "I crushed your will") involved AND people with discretionary money that can afford it...sorry it's here to stay.
Do we test every race? Can't. To expensive.
I sure hope David will learn from this. I hope cycling (again) will learn from this. I also hope that some day we will no longer have to quietly wonder wether someone is doping. Seems far off.
Tailwinds to you all.