Professional Cyclist Returns Clean Blood Sample!

12.9.2005 | 11:20 pm

Back in mid-November, after reading about yet another doping scandal, I asked myself, "Is there even one clean pro cyclist out there?" Then it occurred to me that it would be really funny if there were, in fact, exactly one clean cyclist. That would be big news.

So I wrote the following little story for Cyclingnews. I thought it was one of my funniest pieces ever, and so did my wife. And so did Dug, but that’s a different story. I was sure Cyclingnews would love it.

Cyclingnews rejected it.

So here’s the whole thing, in its final draft. Yep, I wrote multiple drafts. Don’t act shocked.


Professional Cyclist Returns Clean Blood Sample!

Elk Grove, Indiana, November 21 (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) – The cycling world rejoiced today when WADA chief Dick Pound, in conjunction with Team Hoosier Directeur Sportif Stuart Talley, announced that heretofore unknown semi-professional cyclist Rick Maddox is — according to all currently available tests — clean.

“Rick Maddox is a bright beacon of hope to the world of professional cycling,” said Pound. “If it is possible for a cyclist in a small, non-funded, semi-professional regional team in a farm town in the Midwest to be clean, can the day when we claim total victory over illicit performance-enhancing substances be far off?”

“I am both humbled and honored,” added Mr. Talley, “to have Rick Maddox on our team. We believe that he has a great future as a non-doping cyclist, and hope to help him continue to be the pre-eminent non-doper in the cycling world.”

“I would like to make it clear,” Talley continued, “that the fact that there is no possible way we could afford EPO has nothing to do with why Maddox is clean.”


Science Community Weighs In

While it is still unclear to the general public how a professional cyclist is somehow not doping, Scientists and nutritionists from around the globe have been dispatched to study Maddox. Asked what he thought of this phenomenon, Dr. Richard P. Kelly, one of the world’s foremost nutritionists, responded, “I have long believed that if one trained, ate, and rested properly, it would be — theoretically — possible to race as a professional cyclist without doping. Here, at last, we have proof.”

Other scientists, however, remain skeptical. “Of course I am gladdened that Rick Maddox appears to not be doping,” said International Screening Association (ISA) representative Sammakko Miyasaki. “This, however, does not constitute final proof that Maddox has definitively not been doping. We believe the safest course of action is to — for the time being — refer to Mr. Maddox as an ‘alleged non-doper,’ until we have developed additional tests over the course of the next five years, which we shall then run on his current blood, saliva, and urine samples.” At that point, we believe we should be able to say, with 72% confidence, that Maddox either is or is not doping at this moment in time.”

“Also,” continued Miyasaki, “We’re going to need a lock of his hair, a 4-inch-square sample of his skin, and one of his kidneys for our tests. You know, just to be safe.”


Racers React

As one would expect, the tight-knit community of professional cyclists is abuzz with the news that one of their own is not doping.

As one would also expect, not a single one was willing to speak unless guaranteed anonymity.

“I am very, very happy for Mr. Maddox, who I have never heard of before today,” said one popular-but-currently-suspended professional cyclist, who (prior to his suspension) was well known for winning practically every stage he had ever raced in his professional career. “I wish him great success in the future as he races on the…the…excuse me, what team did you say he races on?”

A recently-retired racer, having raced a long and successful career without a single positive, also offered his congratulations to Maddox, but with a caution. “Don’t assume that just because you’re testing clean today means you’re going to test clean tomorrow, OK buddy? Basically, don’t count all your chickens ‘til they hatch. And believe me, some of them chickens can take a good long time to hatch. As in years.

“Seriously, he tested clean?” asked a third racer, who is currently fighting 29 separate charges of doping. “For everything? Is that even statistically possible?

“By the way,” added this racer, as he sat glumly on the steps of the courthouse, where he will likely spend the rest of his adult life, hastily, “I’m clean, too.”


How He Did It

As one would expect, the public — not to mention professional cyclists everywhere —want to know how Maddox managed to test clean. “Well, mostly it’s been easy, because as a racer outside the limelight, I can barely afford to keep my bike maintained, and the tips I get for waiting restaraunts don’t exactly cover $800-per-syringe designer drugs,” admitted Maddox.

“Plus, one day I had an idea: what if I just race, and don’t start doping?’ I know that sounds naïve, but I figured I’d give it a shot. And, well, here I am.”

“Also,” continued Maddox, “I never take cold medicine, or any other medicine for that matter. And I don’t eat cold cereal — have you seen the ingredients lists for that stuff? I wouldn’t be surprised if something in those boxes registered on one of the eight or nine new tests they’re coming out with every week.”

“Also, I stay away from soda. And processed cheese. And I don’t use deodorant unless it’s been approved by Johan Bruyneel himself.”

“And, finally, I cycle my blood through a special chimera-removing dialysis machine on a thrice-weekly basis.”

“You know, regular stuff like that.”


Future Looks Bright

Reached for comment, incoming Tour de France Race Director Christian Prudhomme said, “I wish to personally congratulate Mr. Maddox, who will be — by default — declared the winner of the 2006 Tour de France in a special ceremony this July.”

Continued Prudhomme, “This ceremony will last for the three weeks during which we would have otherwise held the race, if we could have found any other clean riders.”


  1. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 12.10.2005 | 12:23 am

    Greaty hyperbole, Elden! I definately got a grin out of it! Cycling News certainly did miss a good one here! I can see where it just might have hit a hot button, though::GRIN:: or a few!

  2. Comment by Unknown | 12.10.2005 | 1:38 am

    A rebuttal headline might have read: "Satirical Truth Strikes Too Close to Home." What were you thinking? Except for the bit about Ricky, it’s too close to truth for comfort.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 12.10.2005 | 2:02 am

    Their loss. Great humor, great piece. Definitely one of your best.

  4. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 12.10.2005 | 3:29 am

    I think the premier cycling news provider doesn’t want to publish something that is potentially a lot more accurate than we are currently aware of. Maybe a news site for a different sport may wish to run the story.

  5. Comment by Glen | 12.10.2005 | 4:20 am

    I’m with Big Mike & Rocky on this one…the truth hurts !next thing we know it’ll be called foxsportsnews(withabitofcycling) and Uncle Rupert will have editorial control – hmmmm maybe he already does !!!

  6. Comment by tayfuryagci | 12.10.2005 | 5:44 am

    great piece fatty. what can we say? truth hurts.

  7. Comment by Rick | 12.10.2005 | 6:23 am

    Very clever little scoop there, Fatty. The ironic thing is that I share the same name as the clean pro in your report. The similarities stop there however. Those who know me know that I’m a soft white daddy who pounds the dope to cope. Change the pro’s name to Richard Virenque and CN might publish it.I’m looking forward to your Flo review.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 12.10.2005 | 6:40 am

    "Say it’s so, Joe! Say it’s so!""It isn’t, kid. It isn’t."

  9. Comment by Unknown | 12.11.2005 | 12:47 am

    True dat, FattyLe Tour de Dope

  10. Comment by Unknown | 12.11.2005 | 6:07 am

    Great job, I miss David Loosli, but some people won’t be happy with you. Why do you want to destroy the sport, the sport that feeds you, the sport that feeds your family, the sport that feeds your children to your family? Or something like that.

  11. Comment by Kelly | 12.11.2005 | 4:13 pm

    They missed out on a great opportunity here. Dumb publishers. What do they know?

  12. Comment by Unknown | 12.11.2005 | 4:39 pm

    Dude or as you bike people like to say, d0000000d, maybe they rejecteed it because it sucks. Because you know what? It does! Hey Cyclingnews Iv’e got this article I wrote that craps in your kitchen! What, you dont want it?

  13. Comment by Unknown | 12.11.2005 | 5:56 pm

    KalmPanick, I think that there is a spectrum of satire. On one side you have the barely vieled truth slightly twisted for maximum bite and sting. The purpose of this type of satire is to affect social change. Somewhere on the other end of the spectrum is Fatty’s satire (I almost wrote "fatire" but decided that this confused the sentence). It is hyperbolic and it’s purpose is to entertain.Unfortunately, some people (especially attorneys who litigate) can’t tell the difference.Botched

  14. Comment by Unknown | 12.11.2005 | 5:59 pm

    There are obvious flaws in this piece of satire which are probably the reason that it was refused by Cycling News.1. Nobody in pro cycling really cares whether riders are clean or not, so long as there is plenty of suffering on the Tour.2. It too close to the truth.

  15. Comment by Holy | 12.11.2005 | 6:43 pm

    Thx for the fyi – you were one of many, incidentally, whose name crops up time and again – it’s just kinda weird, that’s all – the ghost of fatty – but heh, your site is worth $105K in Technorati speak or some such #, so $ talks. And Schmidt happens. And your sister IS funny. But I wonder – is it really evolution to go from Air Supply lip syncing & Jordache jean cross dressing to lycra short livin’?

  16. Comment by Unknown | 12.11.2005 | 6:57 pm

    I’m not sure I really want the Tour de to be drug free. The last time they did that – around 1912 – the guy taking the polka dot jersey by winning the Mt. Ventoux climb asked for a handgun, so he could shoot the first Tour organizer he could lay his hands on. Even the great Fausto Coppi faced doping questions when it was discovered that one of his rivals took amphetamines once in a while to help out on the really tough days in the Giro and the Tour. "Do you dope like ____ does?" asked one reporter. "Of course not. Only when absolutely necessary," replied Fausto. "When is that?" asked the next reporter. "Almost all the time." And there you have it. Unlike Ty Cobb’s inside baseball, pro football with 195 pound linemen, the NBA with 6′2" white guys in Chuck Taylors throwing up set shots, and hockey with just toothless Canadians, there probably never was an age when cycling was "clean" and totally in conformity with the politics, the time and the place of its age. And thank God for that. How boring would that be to watch 185 moderately fast, soft spoken and politically correct guys ride decently on bikes, but abjure drugs, excessive suffering, public controversy, needling their opponents for their immutable physical characteristics (Il Elefantino?), going too fast on potentially fatal descents, and engaging in rock-star like off-bike hijinks.

  17. Comment by Stephen | 12.11.2005 | 7:21 pm

    In the immortal words of Garth Brooks:"Good ride, cowboy. Good ride!"steve

  18. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 12.11.2005 | 7:49 pm

    stormcrowe – glad you liked it. and you’re right, this would have hit a hotbutton w/ many readers @ sponsors cyclingnews. i think they were right to pass on this one.rocky – are you telling me that ricky’s not clean? oh, and i made your christmas present today. it involved a hacksaw, a vice, and a heavy-duty file. you’re going to love it.keepYerBag – glad you liked it. i very nearly named the nutritionist Stephen J Solarz, by the way. but in the world of instant research, decided against it.big mike – accurate, me? you insult me, sir!scotxc / tyafur / mochamomma – thanks for the support, man. to be super-duper clear, though, i don’t have any grudge against cyclingnews for not using this piece. they didn’t ask for it, and it would have probably been disruptive to the productive conversation about doping in cycling they’re trying to have. cyclingnews has definitely shown a number of times that they’re not afraid to talk about doping. i think right now they just want to talk about it seriously. to some people, joking about it could make it seem like cyclingnews doesn’t think it’s a serious issue.rickmx – "virenque tests clean" is just too wacky. people wouldn’t be able to suspend disbelief.chucky – but you’re clean, right? cuz if you’re not, man, that would just be too much to take. i couldn’t handle it.mochamomma – hey, congrats on being in "what’s your story" this week. i’m digging your blog. big time.kalmpanick – when you say that piece sucks, you mean it in a nice way, right? botched – "fatire?" that’s genius. next time i come out to utah, let’s ride. i want to see what you’re like in real life.juvenile – i’ve got to admit that i care more about the spectacle than whether they’re clean. give me a show, – you mean i’m only worth $105K? man, i’ve got to pimp out more links. also, to be clear, i don’t see myself as the "best of" rainmaker. that’s muse monkey. once you’re on her list, it’s only a matter of – what you’re basically proposing is that pros become gladiators. part of me agrees — the more amazing the feat, the more drama, the more danger, the better. but as the gap widens between what those guys can do and what i can imagine myself doing, my personal attachment to pro cycling weakens.pilgrim – is garth brooks the guy who makes those famous saddles?

  19. Comment by Unknown | 12.12.2005 | 11:00 am

    Now that the Grand Tours have pulled out of the Pro Tour, maybe we’ll our dream tour. Something like your Tour de Trump meets WWF wrestling. No need for drugs tests. No holds barred sprinting. Dirty tricks in the mountains. Spiked water bottles. It could be great.

  20. Comment by tayfuryagci | 12.12.2005 | 12:33 pm

    3 days…no fatty…FAS (fatty abscence syndrome) kicking in…so weak…don’t want to study for the finals (hey its this friday man!)…shivering….cold….darkness…

  21. Comment by Unknown | 12.12.2005 | 6:03 pm

    What?! So YOU’RE not the clean cyclist?Figures.

  22. Comment by Thomas | 07.27.2006 | 5:33 pm

    Testing clean is wonderful after today’s horrible results of Landis! There is a back up test and hopefully that will be different.
    Landis and orothers should be turning to the best kept secret that there is for increased energy, endurance and stamina. The secret is finally coming out with The Real Story Behind The Patches. And, yes, tested and green light given, by WADA. What is it! See  for yourself the benefits and a who’s who in the Sports World that are using thie patches.  or  You will be glad you did.
    Have A World Class Day!
    Thomas Burke


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