Former cyclist Floyd Landis, Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters, United States Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart and bioethicist Dr Thomas H Murray will all participate in a panel discussion called ‘Spinning Our Wheels? Doping in Professional Cycling’ to be held at Yale Law School this evening and streamed live on the internet.
Three of the four need little introduction to followers of cycling. Tygart led the USADA investigation that resulted in Lance Armstrong receiving a lifetime ban, and in which both Landis and Vaughters, former team mates of his at US Postal, albeit at different times, were key witnesses.
Landis, who has the dubious distinction of being the first American to have been stripped of a Tour de France title for doping, finally confessed in 2010 to having used performance enhancing drugs and also lifted the lid on the extent of drug use at the team. The whistleblower action he initiated against Armstrong and others in 2010 was joined last week by the US government.
Dr Murray, meanwhile, is a leading academic in the field of bioethics, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as “a discipline dealing with the ethical implications of biological research and applications especially in medicine” – doping in sport being one of the subjects his research has focused upon.
He is Senior Research Scholar and President Emeritus of the Hastings Center, which describes itself as “an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit bioethics research institute” and in June last year stepped down after 13 years as its President and CEO.
According to the Yale website, the discussion will be moderated by Jacob Hacker, who is the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale and director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies and, in his spare time, an amateur bike racer - and just how good a racer he was as a teenager was revealed by Vaughters on Twitter on Wednesday evening.
The Garmin-Sharp manager said that Hacker won the first stage of the Moab stage race in 1989, although a poor time trial saw him finish sixth overall, behind a podium comprising the race winner, Bobby Julich, Vaughters himself as runner-up, and Armstrong in third place.
The race was a qualifying event for the junior world championships and all were aged between 15 and 17 at the time. More recently, of course, all three of those podium finishers have admitted doping once they had become professionals.
Yale adds that “panelists will examine the use of performance-enhancing drugs in competitive cycling from a variety of angles: how the practice developed; how it became exposed as endemic to the sport; the ethical challenges it poses to coaches, athletes, and administrators; and what sustainable reform measures can be taken to curtail it.”
The event is co-sponsored by Yale Law School and the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, and has been organised by Hank Moon, a law student at Yale, which is located in New Haven, Connecticut.
The event runs from 4.30pm to 6pm EST – that’s 9.30pm to 11pm GMT – and will be streamed live here.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.