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Another blogger bites the dust?
February 20, 2005 2:36 AM   Subscribe

Pro bike racer fired over blog contents. Matt DeCanio, who created waves throughout the cycling community last summer by admitting he had used EPO during the 2003 domestic racing season, was released late last week by the California-based Ofoto-Sierra Nevada Professional Cycling Team
posted by fixedgear (28 comments total)

 
His blogs are here and here.
posted by fixedgear at 2:39 AM on February 20, 2005


pro-bike racer fired for breech of contract

"The main thing that I think is important to understand is that the reason we've asked Matt to leave the team is not because of his views, or his admission of doping," Kadis said. "In the time since he's been a member of the team there have been specific violations of team policies that Matt voluntarily made with team management. The First Amendment protects censorship from the government, but it doesn't protect employees, or independent contractors in this case, from abiding by a contractual agreement."
posted by three blind mice at 3:12 AM on February 20, 2005


DeCanio is a skilled cyclist, I wish he could have avoided these problems.
posted by CaptMcalister at 3:41 AM on February 20, 2005


"When DeCanio refused to go along with the team's policies, citing the First Amendment, he was asked to resign."

I wish I had a nickle for every numbnut who cited the 1st in this way.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:57 AM on February 20, 2005


I wish I had a nickle for every numbnut who cited the 1st in this way.

Your rates are way to low.
posted by srboisvert at 6:36 AM on February 20, 2005


I don't know if more has come of it since, but this story about a pro-biker being fired for his tattoo is also interesting (sorry, links to my blog):

Initial story

Follow-up (with picture of the offending tattoo)

posted by glider at 7:50 AM on February 20, 2005


This misleading FPP should have mentioned the breach of contract.
posted by mischief at 7:51 AM on February 20, 2005


Sorry, threatened with firing, but I don't think ultimately fired.
posted by glider at 7:51 AM on February 20, 2005


This misleading FPP should have mentioned the breach of contract.

"My contract had already been signed, but they were threatening to fire me. I didn't sign anything - it was a verbal agreement that the team couldn't be used as a vehicle for my message."

Looks like a pretty weak contract and I don't see how the FPP was innaccurate. The quotes from the team attorney and team manager make it pretty clear the dismissal was due to what was posted.

He is whistle blowing and getting punished for it.

Cycling is pretty awesome at closing ranks and punishing those who tell the truth about the rampant cheating so maybe the team is protecting their ability to race but it still seems pretty cowardly to me.
posted by srboisvert at 8:15 AM on February 20, 2005


Well, of course his lawyer is going to make up all that shit. That's what lawyers do.
posted by mischief at 8:18 AM on February 20, 2005


No one likes a cheater.
posted by haqspan at 8:23 AM on February 20, 2005


haqspan, 51% of this country likes a cheater.
posted by fenriq at 8:39 AM on February 20, 2005


gilder: Yeah, the Clinger story is also on my blog but it now appears that he is gonna get the tattoo removed and will race.

mischief: What srboisvert said.
posted by fixedgear at 8:40 AM on February 20, 2005


UM, is it just me, or does bicycle racing strike anyone else as being the Yuppie Nascar?
posted by berek at 11:18 AM on February 20, 2005


blog, blog, blog....stop with the 'everything revolves around blog' garbage already.
posted by HTuttle at 12:12 PM on February 20, 2005


Yuppie Nascar? Cycling demands an elite level of physical fitness and is the sport of the greatest athlete ever, Lance Armstrong. For Yuppie Nascar look to horse racing.
posted by CaptMcalister at 12:27 PM on February 20, 2005


I'm not really sure what "Yuppie NASCAR" means. Young urban professional NASCAR? In Europe where bike racing is more popular than NASCAR and the WWWF combined, it is a blue-collar sport. Guys ride their asses off to escape the farm or a factory job. In the USA the amateur road racing ranks tend to be full of white collar types, while MTB riders and racers are more blue collar.
posted by fixedgear at 12:35 PM on February 20, 2005


Could we sort this 'Yuppie NASCAR' thing out quickly, as I am unsure whether to be all "God Damn the Cycling Authorities!" or "Throw the junkie out and let his insides rot".

Signed
-Confused of Nantucket
posted by Sparx at 1:28 PM on February 20, 2005


Yuppie Nascar

Uh, most [US] cycling fans are avid riders themselves, whereas your average NASCAR junkie doesn't have a custom-built "stock car" in their garage.

The doping thing always seemed like a US v Euro culture thing to me.

Doping is rampant in pro road racing, which is of course European in it's origins.
Doping is basically non-existant in pro mtb racing, which is undoubtably an American sport, even if the Euros hand us our asses these days.

Anyway, I'm not sure what that means, but it's true.

/Velo News on the FP is cool.
posted by singletrack at 2:20 PM on February 20, 2005


Uh, most [US] cycling fans are avid riders themselves, whereas your average NASCAR junkie doesn't have a custom-built "stock car" in their garage.

Trust me any NASCAR Fan that can afford it has some sort of souped up wheels in the garage.
posted by bitdamaged at 2:43 PM on February 20, 2005


A road bike, while expensive compared to your typical bicycle, is still considerably less expensive than a stock car. The bikes don't require that much upkeep either.
posted by raysmj at 2:54 PM on February 20, 2005


"Doping is basically non-existant in pro mtb racing, which is undoubtably an American sport, even if the Euros hand us our asses these days."

Filip Meirhaeghe retired shortly before the Olympics (he was one of the favourites) after testing positive for EPO.

Janet Puiggros Miranda was dropped from the Spanish Mountain Bike team for the same reason....
posted by arc at 3:41 PM on February 20, 2005


Paola Pezzo accidently ate some beef that was full of steroids...oh wait, yeah, her too.
posted by fixedgear at 3:46 PM on February 20, 2005


I'm not saying there's no doping in mtb, but it's not nearly as rampant as in road racing.

All the examples given were European as well.

Alls I'm saying is it refelcts an attitude towards drug use in general.

On the other hand, Americans are willing to take ANYTHING they can get with a prescription.
posted by singletrack at 5:38 PM on February 20, 2005


Here's DeCanio's mea culpa essay about doping from June 2004. It's filled with details about injections, blood spins and the like.

Has anyone actually looked at DeCanio's two sites? StolenUnderground is near-fundie in intensity, with slogans like "Drugs will make your balls fall off," "The Devil lives inside of drugs" and "Drugs will turn you into a disgusting mutant with no balls and a huge jawbone." Ho-kay. Be sure to vote for the Doper of the Month, too, and check the anti-Lance Armstrong rant (some of which is probably justified). And this page (complete with brief audio of police sirens, so turn your speakers down) encourages folks to become the eyes and ears of anti-doping agencies:

Please report on the following:

* Managers who are pushing performance enhancing drugs.
* Coaches who are pushing performance enhancing drugs.
* Trainers who are pushing performance enhancing drugs.
* Doctors who are prescribing performance enhancing drugs.
* Veterinarians who are selling animal medicines for human consumption.
* Websites that are selling performance enhancing drugs.
* Athletes who are taking performance enhancing drugs.
* Drug dealers [...]

"Everyday is a good day to send and resend your tips. We must keep the pressure on until each suspect in question is brought to justice! Operation Save America starts from here." -The Commander


Anyway, Bicycling ran a detailed three-page article about DeCanio on Feb 3, which includes the info that USADA decided to sanction him for his honest admission of EPO use, that DeCanio auctioned off his team's termination letter on eBay, that "Sierra Nevada team management had offered to work with him to create a more positive message, and he refused, citing his First Amendment rights," and that while some of DeCanio's statements are "possibly libelous," the response of pro cycling "-- essentially to ignore him and hope he will go away -- is shameful."

This doesn't seem to be much of a blogging story, really. It's about DeCanio, drugs, biking and interpersonal relations.
posted by mediareport at 5:53 PM on February 20, 2005


Singletrack,

Can your brainless USA-numbah-one jingoism. Can you point to NLB, WWF or NFL and sanely claim that doping is a strictly European affair? MTB has less doping than road-racing because most MTB events are more dependent on technical skill than on physical strength / endurance. But, as you're seeing in the XC events, even MTB isn't immune to doping scandals.
posted by randomstriker at 10:36 PM on February 20, 2005


Oh yeah, I forgot WWF now refers only to the environmental organisation, and pro-wrestling is some other acronym that escapes my memory.
posted by randomstriker at 10:37 PM on February 20, 2005


"Doping is basically nonexistent in pro mtb racing, which is undoubtedly an American sport, even if the Euros hand us our asses these days."

As a (decidedly) second tier semi-pro cross-country and cyclocross racer, I assure you that plenty of pros in the U.S. use drugs. In reality, the difference between mountain bike pros and road pros is slight - they simply gravitate to that for which they are able to drum-up sponsorship. Guys like DeCanio forget how little they are worth; there are 100 dudes waiting to fill his shoes. And yes, cycling is similar to NASCAR - I've had a laugh about it with many people. Think about it; drafting, nasty crashes, oversized personalities, miniscule differences in skill balanced by tech and teamwork - one could go on. But, road racing tosses in turns, descents, funky surfaces and inhuman physical demands. In sum, NASCAR is for pussies. One last thing, Bicycling is a shitrag.
posted by rotifer at 10:15 AM on February 21, 2005


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