Bradley Wiggins takes issue with Team Sky's zero tolerance approach

Tour de France champ says cycling can learn from experience of people such as Bobby Julich

by Simon_MacMichael   January 28, 2013  

Wiggins riding Arc de Triomphe

Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins believes there is a place in cycling for those who have doped in the past but have put it behind them. His remarks, made to Sky Sports News, are at odds with the zero tolerance approach adopted by Team Sky, which led to the departure last autumn of race coach Bobby Julich and sports director Stephen De Jongh.

"We've had this zero tolerance from the point we started and we've never veered off that, to the point that riders who've admitted to problems in the past have moved on,” reflected Wiggins.

"But I don't think it's about [putting heads on blocks], he went on. “People make mistakes in life, and a lot of these people have made decisions 10-15 years ago which are coming back to haunt them. They can't be vilified for that in some areas.

"Bobby Julich is a classic example - in 1998 he finished third in the Tour de France, he's admitted to doping and has now moved on from the team.

"While he served his time here was 100% an advocate of anti-doping as someone who'd experienced it and been put under pressure to do what he did back in '98.”

Julich had admitted to having doped between 1996 and 1998 after Team Sky required its staff and riders to reconfirm their commitment to its anti-doping policy in the wake of the Reasoned Decision in the Lance Armstrong case published by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) last October.

Former Sky rider Michael Barry, who had announced his retirement shortly beforehand, was one of USADA’s witnesses and received a six-month ban, and information in the Reasoned Decision had led to Julich being widely identified as a former Motorola rider whose name had been redacted in the report.

Wiggins cited David Millar, who rode alongside him for the Great Britain team when Mark Cavendish won the rainbow jersey at Copenhagen in 2011 and again last summer in the Olympic road race, as a past doper whose experience could provide lessons for future generations.

After he was banned for two years in 2004 after admitting using EPO, Millar helped British Cycling and UK Anti-Doping formulate their policies on anti-doping, including protecting younger riders, and is currently in New York for a meeting taking place tomorrow and Wednesday of the World Anti Doping Agency’s athlete committee which he sits on.

"I think in some cases the reformed characters - David Millar and that - as people who've actually experienced it they can help youngsters on the way not to go, and I think in a way we need some of those people within this sport," maintained Wiggins.

Like Julich, De Jongh also left Team Sky after admitting using EPO, in his case between 1998 and 2000. He has since joined Saxo-Tinkoff as sports director.

Sean Yates, whose own past was also scrutinised in the wake of USADA’s reasoned decision – an appendix included a picture of the Team Sky sports director alongside the Cagnes-sur-Mer bike shop owner said to be the ‘motoman’ drugs courier linked to Armstrong and US Postal - also left Sky at the same time, although his departure was officially attributed to health and family reasons.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart is among those who has criticised Team Sky’s zero tolerance approach, describing it as counter productive and insisting that a truth and reconciliation process was key to moving the sport on from the fallout of the Armstrong scandal.

14 user comments

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Shock horror! Rider has slightly different take on things. Hold the front page..

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
28th January 2013 - 15:42

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Not much of a story, Sky aren't saying that former dopers have no place in the sport, they're just saying they have no place in Team Sky.

Wiggins remarks are in line with Brailsford's comments re Millar where he's said he would have loved to have Millar on board at Sky but couldn't because of his past and Sky's zero tolerance policy.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
28th January 2013 - 16:20

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David Millar is a perfect example of learning from your mistakes. He actually seems shocked and depressed by what he did and has to live with that person for the rest of his life, and sorry to others too [unlike LA, too little, too late.] I am quite happy to have him in Team GB, but not Sky. I do think there is a virtue in having a totally clean professional team. There is a place for reformed characters but it can be elsewhere. Sky's reason d'etre has always to become a new team founded on our Olympic legacy and bringing new philosophies and training techniques into road cycling. If it has to hurt itself to maintain these principles that is worth the cost of becoming just another road team.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1187 posts]
28th January 2013 - 16:32

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Seriously? these ex-dopers are the reason he continually gets asked about whether he is clean, these ex-dopers are the reason the money will drain from the sport, these are riders that stole the careers of clean riders and made a lot of money off it. And he still wants them round the sport?

posted by fiftyacorn [91 posts]
28th January 2013 - 16:43

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The Team's zero tolerance approach is a promise they made to their sponsors when they set it up, so they probably don't have the freedom to switch. David Millar has said that there is room in cycling for both white knights like Sky and grey knights like Garmin.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1332 posts]
28th January 2013 - 17:53

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Not really news in itself but so many have been asking Wiggo what his thoughts are and more to the point, slating him for not expressing them, so its good to hear him speak.
Theres a vast difference in morals of those id consider to be good for the sport, got caught and immediately admitted to all is far different to waiting 10 years until you had no choice. I dont blame Sky for getting rid as a PR exercise given the bad press surrounding drugs in sport especially as these same staff members wouldve been asked to disclose it from the start of their contract...they clearly lied, cant have that on a ny contract, loss of trust.
I wouldnt see it being negative of Sky to employ a known cheat, who disclosed all his wrong do-ings at the earliest opportunity after a positive especially where they showed willing to prevent further spread of its disease. There are few like that though.

posted by Farky [177 posts]
28th January 2013 - 18:27

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Should that not be "Cagnes Sur Mer" where incidentally the 5th stage of this years TDF starts from?

onward ever onward

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posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
28th January 2013 - 18:54

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bikecellar wrote:
Should that not be "Cagnes Sur Mer" where incidentally the 5th stage of this years TDF starts from?

Yes, Cagnes not Cages... the bike shop owner continues to deny he is Motoman, will be interesting to see whether the shop stays open when the TDF visits or whether he'll pull the shutters down given the attention he's bound to receive.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7926 posts]
28th January 2013 - 19:02

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Yes indeed, me and Wor Lass are all booked up for Corsica/Nice Grand Depart so will be in Cagnes Sur Mer for the start of that stage, it only looks to be a small place so will see if we can find the shop. Big Grin

onward ever onward

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posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
28th January 2013 - 19:16

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On the seafront, 99 Promenade de la Plage, can't miss it Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7926 posts]
28th January 2013 - 20:12

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fiftyacorn wrote:
Seriously? these ex-dopers are the reason he continually gets asked about whether he is clean, these ex-dopers are the reason the money will drain from the sport, these are riders that stole the careers of clean riders and made a lot of money off it. And he still wants them round the sport?

It's short sighted knee jerk responses like this that handicap the sport of bike racing. If you take this attitude no one will learn the lessons of the past and doping will continue. If you want to stop doping listen too, involve and take on board what ex-dopers have to say.

posted by Dropped [32 posts]
28th January 2013 - 20:19

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
On the seafront, 99 Promenade de la Plage, can't miss it Wink

That's the main shop but the good stuff is in a lock-up a few hundred yards to the rear Wink Wink

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [536 posts]
29th January 2013 - 11:22

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Sky still have not explained truthfully why they hired a doctor like Leinders.

I much preferred the Wiggins of 2007 who said that if there was a 1% chance of doping the people involved should be thrown from the sport.

Wonder what made him change his mind? His bromance with Armstrong in 2009 most likely.

posted by Decster [246 posts]
29th January 2013 - 12:22

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Decster wrote:
Sky still have not explained truthfully why they hired a doctor like Leinders.

I much preferred the Wiggins of 2007 who said that if there was a 1% chance of doping the people involved should be thrown from the sport.

Wonder what made him change his mind? His bromance with Armstrong in 2009 most likely.

They've given their answer. I think what you mean is that you're not satisfied with it, which is fair enough, but there is a difference.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2948 posts]
29th January 2013 - 12:55

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