The Fat Cyclist Explains: The Slipstream / Garmin-Cervelo / Trent Lowe / Matt White / Luis Garcia del Moral / Jonathan Vaughters / Prentice Steffen / Martin Hardie Scandal

01.27.2011 | 3:58 pm

It’s a confusing time to be a fan of pro cycling, what with scandals left and right, some so nuanced and complex that layfolk like yourselves have no real chance of understanding them, without expert help.

Luckily for you, I am an expert. And I’m here to help. Specifically, today I am going to help you understand two different cycling scandals, which, due to a scheduling error, are happening concurrently and are therefore putting the cycling press in danger of having nothing to talk about later this winter, when both scandals have petered out.

The Contador Scandal

The first cycling scandal I will help you understand is the Alberto Contador / Clenbuterol affair. It goes like this:

Alberto Contador had some clenbuterol — a banned substance in cycling because it makes you lose weight, which Contador obviously needed to do — in his system. There’s no way to prove one way or the other whether the clenbuterol got there on purpose, but Contador’s going to be suspended for a year (instead of two years, because there wasn’t enough clenbuterol to do him much good, and it’s possible and maybe even probable that he’s telling the truth about it coming from steak he ate) anyway.

And he’s going to lose his 2010 TdF win, making Andy Schleck the winner from last year. But Andy doesn’t want to be declared the winner this way; he wants his first TdF win to be because he’s the fastest guy, not just the fastest guy who didn’t get stripped of his award.

So I guess this means we won’t see Schleck photoshopped onto any podiums. Darn it.

Which means that, due to a little-known loophole, the first person to call “dibs” becomes the winner of the 2010 Tour de France.


There. That one wasn’t too hard to explain, was it?

OK, then. On to the next scandal.

The  The Slipstream / Garmin-Cervelo / Trent Lowe / Matt White / Luis Garcia del Moral / Jonathan Vaughters / Prentice Steffen / Martin Hardie Scandal

Allow me to recommend that you settle in and grab yourself a drink, but not in that order, unless you happen to have a drink handy to the location in which you’re going to settle.

My point being, this next scandal is going to take a while to explain, due to the number of players and the strange and intertwined series of events.

Over the course of the past week, we have slowly learned that Matt White — the director of Team Garmin Cervelo — was fired for allowing racer Trent Lowe to see a non-approved doctor (Luis Garcia del Moral), ostensibly without the knowledge of Slipstream honchoJonathan Vaughters, nor team doctor Prentice Steffen, except for the fact that the doctor’s report did in fact get sent to these two, but was somehow overlooked by them. Meanwhile, Lowe and his advisor, Martin Hardie, have apparently been attempting to blackmail Vaughters, saying that unless they hand over a whole buncha money (500,000 euros, which is equivalent to 103,972,000 Nigerian nairas), they would reveal that Lowe had been to see a doctor that has been linked to (although Moral denies) doping cyclists, thus tarnishing the hitherto sterling reputation of the Garmin-Cervelo team.

This scandal, I think is fair to say, is pretty darned confusing. It probably also seems just a little bit unsavory to you that Trent Lowe would try to blackmail his team for something he himself did. It perhaps adds to the confusion that Hardie and Lowe have gone on to claim that hey haven’t blackmailed anyone at all.

Fortunately for you, I am here to help clarify things.

A Scandal, Explained

201101271409.jpg You see, to understand the complexities of this whole sordid mess, you need to understand that fifteen years ago Trent Lowe and Matt White were schoolmates in a notorious Australian children’s cycling school and prison. There, on the first day of school they got into a scuffle, because Matt thought that Lowe had been copying answers from his “Absolutist Ethics in Cycling” exam.

The fierce fight that ensued would become the stuff of school legend, due primarily to the innovative way in which bicycle parts were used as weapons, and secondarily due to the way nobody got even remotely injured, which in turn was due to the fact that both children were standing on concrete while wearing road cycling shoes at the time, and neither wanted to risk falling and becoming injured.

To all appearances, this event — far from making enemies of the two — cemented a friendship that would last for decades. In fact, the two would later laugh about it over drinks in their new capacities: Matt White as the director of a respected pro cycling team, Trent Lowe a racer for that team.

Imagine, then, the shock of those around them when it was discovered that White, known to all as a meticulous team director, would take a shortcut of having Lowe see a doctor who was known to all as a shady character.

201101271405.jpg Vaughters, whose reputation for uncompromising honesty is only rivaled by his passion for looking dapper, could have none of this, and of course had to fire White.

But that’s where the plot really starts to thicken.

Vaughters — as you’ll soon find verified by the rest of the cycling press — actually is the twin brother of the nefarious Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral, a fact which he only recently discovered when — just for fun — he tried growing a goatee. Suddenly, dodgy-looking cyclists from all over started approaching Vaughters, asking him to fill their prescriptions. Vaughters was of course confused by this seemingly nonsensical turn of events until Matt White informed him of the uncanny resemblance.

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that after a dramatic confrontation with his mother, an angry letter to a DNA testing facility, and a trip to a Madrid hospital in the dead of night, Vaughters now knew that not only did he have a twin, but he had an evil twin engaged (allegedly) in the very thing Vaughters had sworn to spend his life fighting: illicit doping.

Thus was born a plan.

When Lowe — on White’s recommendation — visited Dr. Moral’s office, he — unbeknownst to him — was actually visiting a disguised Jonathan Vaughters, who was pretending to be Dr. Moral (as the real doctor was bound and gagged, unconcious, in a nearby broom closet).

Vaughters, of course, did his utmost to give Lowe sufficient opportunity to ask for doping help. And while plenty of doping innuendo hilariously ensued, with both parties hinting at doping without actually coming out and saying it, there was no smoking gun, and the two parted ways, with Lowe feeling like he had just received a physical from the most incompetent doctor, ever.

201101271440.jpg Now, flash forward to the near past. Lowe has confronted Vaughters with the damning evidence that he has been seeing another doctor. Vaughters, who in fact was that other doctor, has to feign incredulity, and — left with no other choice — fires the astounded White.

Now, we suddenly find out, Trent Lowe really holds a grudge. He hasn’t forgiven White for the fight the two of them were in nigh on fifteen years ago, and now he has gotten his revenge, and quite probably will find himself the owner of more than a hundred million naira.

But then, just when it seems Lowe’s victory is complete, Vaughters — dressed again as Dr. Moral — steps up to Lowe in a hotel lobby and then tears off the phony goatee.

Lowe’s head spins. But not literally. Different kind of story.

Instead, enraged, he attacks Vaughters. His advisor, Hardie, wades into the brawl, brandishing a gun and firing at random.

People scream and hit the deck. A chandelier crashes to the floor. And, in the confusion, Vaughters — his eye blackened and swollen in a very familiar fashion — extricates himself and makes a break for his bike. Lowe dashes after him, knocks a messenger off his bike, mounts, and gives pursuit.

Through the city they dash. One pursuing, one pursued. It goes on like this for several exciting minutes, and passersby can’t help but admire Vaughters for the way he manages to acquit himself on a bike, in spite of the fact that he has not been a pro in years, and also in spite of the fact that he is wearing a herringbone jacket and corduroy trousers.

Ultimately, though, Lowe catches Vaughters. They exchange a few punches, but both are winded from the dramatic chase, and have to sit down.

They begin to talk.

And it is while they talk that we discover — to our amazement! — that Trent Lowe is not a pro cyclist at all! Instead, he is really a grizzled cop (Martin Hardie is his partner) who has been working deep undercover as a pro cyclist, trying to find out who in the sport is doping, and to build a case that will stand up in court.

They exchange incredulous looks as they realize that they’ve been trying to sting each other for the exact same reasons. And then, just as they finish explaining everything to each other, Hardie — who is unable to ride a bike and so has had to give pursuit on foot — comically staggers up, winded, and demands Vaughters lay on the ground. Lowe laughs and explains.

And all is well.

Except, of course, Matt White, who is glowering. Brooding. Angry. With no job and no prospects, he has plenty of time to reflect on how he will get his revenge.

Which I will explain later. In Slipstream II: This Time It’s Personal.


  1. Comment by Lisa | 01.27.2011 | 4:24 pm

    The only scandal I knew about was the Schleck and Contador. I watched it happen on TV. So glad that Contador is losing his “win” but poor Andy. I wouldn’t want to win that way either. Hopefully this year is a real win for him.

    Thanks for the info on the other scandal!

  2. Comment by AngieG | 01.27.2011 | 4:26 pm

    OMG!!! This is better than TMZ!

    In Slipstream 2 Michael White becomes secretly romantically involved with the head of the WADA lab. Jonathan Vaughters and Dr Gacia del Moral’s lost fraternal triplet: Ino Urdoping. She has felt pieces were missing from her life as she remembers the years growing up being raised in a tribe of African Pygmies. He uses his new access to taint the submissions of a secret list of cyclists causeing wide spread chaos through the cycling community. No one is safe.

  3. Comment by KanyonKris | 01.27.2011 | 4:33 pm

    I knew there had to be a rational explanation. Thanks for laying it out.

  4. Comment by roan | 01.27.2011 | 4:47 pm

    With a goatee in the plot there’s a good chance Fatty will be a leading role. We ALL know he is already a quite a leading character.
    DIBS on a front row seat for the Grand Preimer Utah showing.

  5. Comment by SydneySS | 01.27.2011 | 5:22 pm

    you left out the handy bmx JUMP that the two did on THE bikes, over a coincidenctally placed canal, which had a SHARK in it. with laser beams.

  6. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 01.27.2011 | 5:47 pm

    You should so submit this plot script to a soap opera!

  7. Comment by Zeeeter | 01.27.2011 | 5:52 pm

    Was the Goatee UCI approved? Isn’t that the key fact here?

  8. Comment by Limey | 01.27.2011 | 6:20 pm

    Oh thanks mate, i needed that i was so confused. If you could clear up one little point, “What happened to the cheese”? Then i will be able to sleep. Are sure it was a Goatee and not a Sheeptee, Sheeptee’s are UCI aproved

  9. Comment by bykjunkie | 01.27.2011 | 7:08 pm

    The UCI is going to have to explain how you received and broke the truth concerning their double secret report on the affair.
    And fatty can play the role of LEVI in the movie, because we KNOW he is behind it all!

  10. Comment by Cycloid | 01.27.2011 | 7:10 pm

    I suspected you lived a rich internal life, there inside your head, but I never really understood just how rich until now. Does this movie run 24/7, or just when you’re inspired?

  11. Comment by Mathew Duran | 01.27.2011 | 7:15 pm

    I read your blog all the time, however never made a comment before. Very entertaining and a delight read, but, I wanted to point out, you said
    ” due to a little-known loophole, the first person to call “dibs” becomes the winner of the 2010 Tour de France. ”

    you said “Dibs” with a capitol D


    I am now the winner of the 2010 Tour de France


  12. Comment by Triflefat | 01.27.2011 | 7:20 pm

    While Matt may be glowering, broody and angry, he is by no means without prospects.

    Think Green Edge.

    Think on the UCI points they may accrue in their first year if Matt happened to encourage some of the young Aussie guns currently with Garmin Transitions (Meyer, Bobridge etc.) to transfer at the end of this year, when their contracts expire.

  13. Comment by eandjmum | 01.27.2011 | 7:28 pm

    Always a laugh… thanks Fatty :-)

  14. Comment by rokrider | 01.27.2011 | 7:56 pm

    Man!… I need another drink.

  15. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 01.27.2011 | 8:56 pm

    maybe I shouldn’t have has so much of my drink before reading this…my head is spinning! Good laugh Fatty.

  16. Comment by Zeke Yount | 01.27.2011 | 10:08 pm

    Maybe, just maybe your best one yet. Well, your best this week… O.K., your best today! But, by golly, still your doggone best. (Note use of family friendly adjectives!)

    If someone offers you medication for loose thought associations, PLEASE DON’T TAKE IT!

    Gotta try to sleep now…

  17. Comment by Jenn | 01.28.2011 | 1:38 am

    Outstanding! You did, however, miss a small comedic opportunity, by listing them in order of Hardy and Lowe, instead of “Lowe and Hardy.” Sounds like??

  18. Comment by Cardiac Kid | 01.28.2011 | 6:55 am

    This makes much more sense.

    But you forgot the part where Lowe told Vaughters that Floyd Landis was also working undercover…kind of the ying to his yang.

    Also…who has an advisor? Is that like someone his mom told to look after him?

  19. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 01.28.2011 | 7:09 am

    LOL! Awesome. Undercover drug cops trying to sting each other in the pro cycling world? I love it!

  20. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 01.28.2011 | 7:14 am

    Also, thanks for paying the exhorbitant fee to be a UCI approved blog. I feel better knowing that I’m reading a quality tested, painstakingly engineered piece of blogitude every day. ;)

  21. Comment by Weiland | 01.28.2011 | 7:26 am

    Isn’t it customary for the winner to buy his teammates a watch? Can’t wait for my watch.

  22. Comment by Stephen | 01.28.2011 | 7:54 am

    I’m surprised that UCI approved a blog that works on a browser other than Netscape 4.7.

  23. Comment by Dave | 01.28.2011 | 8:26 am

    Wait! What? I am so confused. Was Tyler Hamilton involved? He knows a lot about twins (vanishing not evil though).

  24. Comment by Gilbert Keith | 01.28.2011 | 9:59 am

    This is much more interesting than the way other journalists are reporting it.

  25. Comment by MattC | 01.28.2011 | 10:04 am

    @ Mathew Duran (HEY! You spell your first name same as mine! Has anybody every TOLD you that you spelled your name wrong?)

    ” due to a little-known loophole, the first person to call “dibs” becomes the winner of the 2010 Tour de France. ”

    you said “Dibs” with a capitol D


    Uhm…Mathew…I hate to break this to you, but


    Fattty said Dibs, and then you said dibs. The rules clearly state the first person to say “dibs” is the winner.

    Thus I AM NOW THE WINNER of the 2010 TDF. Wow…the podium is in total mayhem this morning!

    When can I expect my check from the ASO? And maybe Phil and Paul will call me for an interview. I’m available until 10am (PST). Call me.

  26. Comment by MattC | 01.28.2011 | 10:16 am

    And btw Fatty, you are a sick man (in a good way of course). Hopefully you have signed a waiver to donate your brain to science when you are thru using it. It is surely one-of-a-kind! You’ve really been busting my gut lately…keep up the good work!

  27. Comment by muskyhunter | 01.28.2011 | 10:56 am

    The only thing missing from this “Bond” thriller is the beautiful and under dressed woman. I’ll wait for the photos…

  28. Comment by Nonamejd | 01.28.2011 | 11:16 am

    Greatest explanation of a scandal I have ever seen.

  29. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 01.28.2011 | 11:40 am

    Woohoo! The obscure unit/monetary conversions are back! Ok, ok… I guess this one was not obscure to someone reading this in Nigeria…

  30. Comment by Franky | 01.28.2011 | 11:52 am

    I’ve got totally confused right after “This scandal, I think is fair to say, is pretty darned confusing.” Phil Ligget needs to clarify for me…

  31. Comment by Skippy | 01.28.2011 | 12:28 pm

    Fireworks will be the result of Fatty’s inspirational blog posting today !

    Can’t wait for installment 2 .

  32. Comment by Geo | 01.28.2011 | 1:44 pm

    Though your blog is UCI-Approved, I did not see the UCI Approved label on your “dibs” so your TdF victory is not valid so the second-place dibs probably goes to PhillyJen or Clydesteve, but I’m sure they don’t want victory that way either.

  33. Comment by Scott R | 01.28.2011 | 1:55 pm

    Fast forward to the near past, indeed.

  34. Comment by 3d brian | 01.28.2011 | 2:04 pm

    Wow that was about to get too complicated but fortunately you included the euro to nairas conversion and it all fit together.

    We really appreciate you doing those conversions for us.

  35. Comment by MattC | 01.28.2011 | 2:40 pm

    If Lowe and Hardie had done their homework, they should have requested the blackmail $$ in Burundi Francs, which would net them 839,695,075.51(rounded off to 2 decimal places for brevity) instead of a paltry 500,000 euros… Cuz everybody knows more is better. I mean, who would want 1 dollar when you can have 100 cents? Geez Louise…

  36. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.28.2011 | 3:18 pm

    This is too much. My mind is still reeling at the two-scandals-at-once scheduling error.

  37. Comment by Skippy | 01.29.2011 | 5:18 am

    Courage comes in all forms and this story will be worth following !
    Follow this link also :

    Hope you all will follow this story !

  38. Comment by Richard | 01.29.2011 | 5:26 am


    Keeps himself in shape,

    dresses immaculately,

    Is he gay?

  39. Comment by neil | 01.29.2011 | 10:14 am

    One can’t help but wonder if the UCI was founded in the States instead of France, whether this whole fiasco couldn’t have been avoided by implementing divisions similar to those of the fun loving NHRA: Stock (no performance enhancing drugs what so ever), Modified (blood doping, synthetic testosterone, and stimulants allowed), and Unlimited (anything goes, and screw the bike weight limit).

  40. Comment by Roses | 01.31.2011 | 10:46 am

    Sorry, I have to give this story only two out of five stars. It is completely unbelievable. I mean, a scandal in pro-cycling? It would never happen.

  41. Comment by hardie | 02.1.2011 | 3:04 pm

    i can ride a bike

  42. Comment by Abdu whereareyou | 03.9.2011 | 9:53 pm

    Funny, if not for the fact that Trent has been so royally screwed by Jonoathon Vaughters, on a financial level (refusing to pay his salary), professional level (sacking him for seeing him on another brand of bike), and socially (defaming him across social media claiming he tried to blackmail him, etc.).

    Everyone should read Hardie’s chronology of events and emails on his New Beginnings blog.

    Time and again, Vaughters has mis-appropriated the truth. First he claimed Trent only raced a few days in the past couple of years (161 in 3), then claiming he never knew about the blood test (then later admitted he received the email at the time with the blood test on the doctor’s letterhead, but saying “ah well, who reads that stuff anyway?!”).

    Then he claimed that Trent tried to blackmail him (Slipstream’s lawyer asked Hardie for a figure so they could negotiate, to which Hardie replied that was impossible and wanted to discuss, but thought 500,000 Euros was probably the figure) etc etc.

    JV is so rattled that he’s even posting on forums.

    What should be damning stuff for JV, but a subservient cycling media and a massive amount of spin sees Trent getting slammed by a powerful team boss, and now no team will touch him. He’s talking about mountain biking now.

    Oh, and Whitey’s been paid out on a confidentiality clause so you’ll never hear the truth from him…

  43. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » The Fat Cyclist Explains: The Race Radio Controversy | 03.10.2011 | 2:25 pm

    [...] show it really is a series, albeit a sporadic one. You can read the first installment here, and the second one here. Finally, you can read the third one here, but you’re already here, so what’s the point [...]


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.