Wednesday, October 27, 2021
HomeInterviewsMatt DeCanio - Unchained!

Matt DeCanio – Unchained!


Somehow Matt DeCanio and his ‘Stolen Underground’ website had passed me by. You may think that I keep abreast of all the forums and Twitter feeds which bang out the latest kitting gossip – usually behind half baked aliases – but I don’t. I’d much rather talk to Michael Nicholson about how he’s doing in Belgium or Doug Dewey about his new team in France.

Call me a naïve old fool but I love the sport and still think that at it’s best it’s beautiful and incomparable.

It was my amigo Callum McGregor who drew my attention to Mr DeCanio’s stream of consciousness anti-doping rants.

What immediately knocked my eyes out was that the man was using very plain language to name Lance, Tyler and Floyd as being ‘hard at it’ – open knowledge now, but DeCanio was saying these things some eight years ago.

I felt that I had to speak to the man; but I warn you right now, if you don’t like the f**k word then stop reading here – I think that to alter any of his words wasn’t right.

If you can stand a few f**k’s than read on – call him a balm-pot but this boy was on his soap box and shouting loud when most were only speaking in hushed whispers.

Matt DeCanio
Matt DeCanio, the man behind the Stolen Underground web site.

“Stolen Underground” – where did the name come from and is the site still active? I couldn’t find recent posts.

“When I quit racing in 2003 I wanted to create a clothing line and to go to fashion school in Miami Beach. I drew fashion figures everyday to prepare.

“One day I was drawing urban designs and wrote Stolen on one of the fashion figure’s t-shirts. The figure was a goth/urban female figure, as I was inspired to create by the things that had happened in my life at the time. Stolen represented the stolen accomplishments by those who corrupted my career, and had stolen contract money, victories, and starting positions in big races like the Giro D’Italia.

“I looked it up and found that Stolen was already a clothing line. So I knew I had to come up with something different. One of my favourite albums during that time period was Anti-Flag’s ‘Underground Network’ album. This album heavily influenced me, as well as Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, and Pennywise.

“Anti-Flag’s lyrics included a song about how the mass media is controlled by a handful of conservative capitalists, so we need to find new ways to distribute our news, our information, and our ideas. The song was called Underground Networks, and so Stolen then became Stolen Underground and it became a true underground network distributing information on professional cycling that nobody else would touch.

“The peak website traffic was around 30,000 unique visitors in a month, and the website has about 1.5 million hits. It was the underground battleground in pro cycling and I was fired, sued, blacklisted, sanctioned, hated, oppressed, and slandered because of it.

“I said a lot of nasty things about people who deserved it. A lot of the mass media controlled population thought I was jealous, and this was supported by the big Tour de France level pros like David Zabriskie who would slander me calling me just that; a bitter crackpot who has failed to reach any kind of level in cycling.

“I have beaten David Zabriskie on power tests while we were on the US National Team together and yes I couldn’t beat him in a time trial, I could walk away from him anytime it went uphill. I was not only not bitter, but I was an equal to him and as proof I stood beside him on the podium at the Sea Otter Classic finishing 5th overall, and winning the final stage on the Lugana Seca Raceway.

“Am I bitter? Of course – anyone would be after being slandered. Was I bitter before I was slandered? Not towards Zabriskie. I never said anything negative about him and used to believe he was a clean rider. It was only after he attacked me with Steve Johnson CEO of USA Cycling that he got on my radar for being a potential doper. Sure enough years later he would admit it, and receive a slap on his DZnuts with a six month sanction, when I got my DZnuts chopped off with a two year sanction, and blacklisted.

“The system rewards the corrupt and it punishes the good people. Stolen Underground is still active, however the website is in a transitional period. I am not sure what to do with it right now and I am tired of anti-doping blogging.

“After Lance went down, and time has passed I don’t really know much about the things that are going on today. I can only speak on the experiences I have had and personal relationships that I have had. Sometimes I look back and say it wasn’t worth it to speak out, and sometimes I do. I wouldn’t want to inspire others to do what I did because I know how much pain and suffering is involved.

“When you commit to a career in professional cycling, you don’t go to college. When you are out, you are out. You will end up cleaning up maggots, washing dishes late night, picking up cigarettes, and jobs like this.

“Meanwhile when you are working late suffering and look over at the TV screen and see the Tour de France on and seeing the riders who have slandered me, like Zabriskie, it is enough to make you go crazy. You really have two choices; go crazy or grow from it and become a stronger person. I am a pretty strong person now, you would know this if you met me face to face. A lot of the pussy-ass motherfuckers who talk shit about me anonymously or on blogs run away when I come within a state of them. I have turned Chris Carmichael around on a group ride in Miami when he heard I was going to be there. I think he jumped in the bushes and hid like the little bitch he is.”

2005 and you knew Tyler Hamilton’s Vuelta and Olympic TT busts were kosher and came from transfusions – where did you get your information?

“When I was 16 I beat Tyler Hamilton in the Killington Stage Race uphill time trial. I was ninth in the pros. I also beat Hamilton clean in the G.C. and time trial of the Tour of Bermuda. I was clean, and there is no way based on what I had experienced in the sport racing as an U23 in Italy and as a pro in Europe, to know based on all of the information by the investigative journalists to think it was a scam.

“I basically just posted facts on my website from other media sources but put all of it together so that it was obvious. I completed the matrix and that is what is so frustrating about getting fired from pro racing. I was fired for posting articles that were already written by others. You simply couldn’t post anything about the USOC, USA Cycling, or Lance Armstrong.

“Hamilton didn’t have the pull but he was important to the US scene. I think everyone who was at a pro level in cycling knew Hamilton was doping. You are in the club when you are a pro. ‘In the club’ means you play cards with George Hincapie and drive his M3 around town while he is driving his M5. You develop great relationships with other professionals and they are your brothers. To speak against doping is absolutely breaking the boys’ code. You dope, or you shut your mouth. Never mind that you have to lose a race to a guy who is doping you have to shake his hand and smile in front of the cameras and say, “Good job mate. Good job.” Obviously you are thinking, “You fucking pussy-ass motherfucker, you suck I really kicked your ass. You are not shit.”

“After about ten years of knowing you are better and losing you get pretty pissed off and then finally you either join them or go against them. Nobody chooses to go against them because then your career is over. So you have to pick the third option, the one my Borderline Personality just couldn’t maintain; to get cheated, stay clean, and to have patience.

“Riders like Svein Tuft are the masters of this technique and have mastered their minds. That is the difference at the high levels. You have to have the ability to put up with the bullshit, maintain your integrity, rise above it all, and then win on top of that. Those are the true champions of not only cycling, but of life.

“Guys like Lance are the absolute losers of cycling and life. But they have all of the money, so looking at them from an outside perspective seeing the lifestyle they live it’s hard not to admire them. But when you know the truth, this is what they don’t want you to know. Not only would you not want to ride bikes with them but you wouldn’t want to have them as a guest in your home or even give them a helping hand if they ever needed it.

“These are truly evil and bad people, they are two-faced, and they are politicians. You will learn a lot about the world and the pathetic human race when you study pro cycling. People continue to amaze me with their actions. Our society is producing cowards and insane assholes who shoot children because they don’t have the courage to live. I am so disappointed with this world, but then again we had slavery just a few generations ago. And even today you have people traded as sex slaves, and these losers locking up children in their basement. Yeah people need to rise up and change.

“It starts with not doping, and by telling the truth. I am obsessed with the truth and living in reality. I am not one of these people who loves to believe in things that are not true and not to live in reality. You have to be pretty uninformed to have ever believed Lance Armstrong didn’t dope, but the bottom line is people didn’t care. This is because people suck and it goes back to all of the things I can’t stand about human nature. This world we live in is great. We all share the fact that we are born alone and we all share the fact that we die alone. Now during this time of death and birth we all want to be happy. It is incredible the things people do to try and be happy. I guess it is all about what you want to do in this world and if winning the Tour De France by any means necessary – including doping – you should have a good shot at it.

“You can pretty much do anything you set your mind to and I believe this. Can we stop doping? We can stop doping when we change human nature. Good luck with that. I am idealistic when I think that people will evolve and eventually stop raping, murdering, and killing. And that they will stop stealing, doping, and lying. I gotta believe when we sort out all of the problems in our society this can happen, but we are going to have to have a society like the Venus Project and it is going to have be a world beyond politics, poverty, and money.

“A world where money is irrelevant and we survive to create art and love.”

Matt DeCanio
Matt with riding buddy John Reynolds.

2005 again, and you cite Floyd Landis as the ‘craziest doper’ way before his Tour bust – what did you mean by that?

“In 2003 my former best friend David Clinger, who was my teammate on the US National Team, told me that Landis was injecting entire vials of HGH. He told me of a race he was doing where Lance and Landis were discussing how Lance and Landis would win the Tour de France by promoting the careers of only European riders to help them win.

“Lance Armstrong never wanted to promote any other American racers in reality. Why would Lance want to help our generation get jobs on Postal when he could have Europeans do the job and then Lance could take all of the publicity and sponsorships. Landis was his choice and man did that one bite him in his last testicle. Lance absolutely got what he deserved – he was a dickhead from start to finish. He was supposed to be this genius but I know I am smarter than Lance.

“If I was Lance I would have paid me off a long time ago to start with, because I was one of the main people who will never get the credit, but absolutely inspired his eventual demise. I spoke personally to David Walsh to inspire him during his rough moments during the writing of, “From Lance to Landis.” I also paved the way for others to speak freely and personally about their careers and to have the courage to come clean. After all I had the shit end of the stick and everyone else had it better than me in pro cycling. But Lance should have hired Landis. What a complete arrogant ass. This is the same ending for every story. You get so much power and your ego grows too big and then you lose it all because you think you are God.

“Lance had forgotten the one lesson and that if God takes your testicle for doping, you are not God. Lance has never written me an apology letter by the way and neither has Rick Crawford or any of those who should be kissing my ass. These people threw in on last great fraud before they went down, and that was they they were sorry for their actions. Lance Armstrong should be sent to prison for 10 to 15 years.

“The man bought a private jet with cancer money, his foundation never gave a shit about finding a cure. Millions of people were fooled. Lance has destroyed the word hero. Just for pretending to be a hero and raping everyone of the heroic ideal so that we can never trust another person the absolute magnitude of his actions are tremendous. They are passed down now, and everyone who wears a LIVESTRONG bracelet I immediately think does this guy support corruption? They do. I have had abusive managers who wear LIVESTRONG bands at Performance Bicycle the worst bicycle company in the world. Just because you wear a yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet does not give you credit for being a good rider, and nor does it make you respected in pro cycling. It makes you B.A.D., meaning a Bitch Ass Dude. And if you don’t believe me, just pay more attention and eventually you will see the truth.

“I have spoken to Landis after it all went down, we are not friends but we respect each other a little. But that respect is pretty minute. Landis is set up to make a lot of money and he did exactly the same thing as Lance. Both of them should be in jail.

“Doping needs to become a felony or it needs to legalised. If we aren’t going to send athletes to jail for stealing prize money and contract money (if you did this in any other aspect of life you would be sent to jail), then legalise doping and put all of the cards on the table and make it fair. It is the unfairness of it all that makes me crazy. Don’t expect me to play by the rules when you are going to allow Lance Armstrong to dope since 1999, USA Cycling and the United States Olympic Committee.

“The Olympics are a joke and the symbol was made up by the Nazis and the Olympic torch relay was the path the Nazis would take to take over the world. Now the Olympics are just a cluster-fuck of nations pretending to win clean and the athletes are so self absorbed that it has absolutely no beauty to me.”

The same year and in plain language you state that Lance Armstrong was well kitted up – how did you know?

“I knew because I raced in Italy, my Italian teammates told me Dr. Ferrari was giving everyone EPO. If you were an U23 racer in Italy you were expected to use EPO and HGH. This was 1998, fresh off the Festina Scandal.

“At the 1996 World Championships in Lugano, Switzerland where I was the top American in the road race with Christian Vandevelde as my teammate we were told by Carmichael before it was made public that Lance had cancer.

“We all knew that EPO was taking over the sport. We did a warm-up race the day before. I beat Tony Rominger of Mapei who was coming fresh off wins at the Vuelta, but not only did an Italian U23 win that race, but every single Italian rider on both the A and B teams beat our entire US squad. During the race the fans had painted EPO on the roads.

“The next year in Italy literally my entire team was admitting to me that they were using EPO. This was not a big thing to admit doping to your teammates because nobody broke the code, there was no reason to break the code – if you didn’t like doping you would just quit the sport.

“When I say using EPO in cycling in Italy is like putting air in your tires I mean that to be 100% true. Every year Tuscany produced a world champion and every country that wants a chance to win will send their top guys. Cadel Evans and the Australians set up a team there. This is where those guys all came from. This same nasty ass dirty doped-up area.

“So to me Lance Armstrong doping was just a given regardless if he was working with Ferrari. But mix that with Ferrari and it is like finding the murder weapon with Lance’s finger prints on it. You would have to experience this culture to fully understand, but put it this way; the son-in-law of the sponsor who didn’t even race was using EPO to ride faster on his group rides. My teammates were throwing syringes at each other joking around. You are talking about a culture where riders are race horses; we were locked in our building at night, given half portions of food and full portions of drugs and told to win by any means necessary.

“Brainwashing the youth into become doping, they will break just about anyone. But they didn’t break me there, I always refused to dope and I didn’t dope to take my UCI yellow jersey in Beauce on Mt. Megantic against Mapei and Michael Rogers. So to me that victory was huge. The peak of my career to always say no, to stay so strong and to overcome such great odds. But I would bet you that year I was the only American to win a UCI yellow without doping.”

Matt DeCanio
Matt is one of the few high-profile people who spoke out about Lance and didn’t get sued.

Didn’t Armstrong’s legal attack dogs growl at you?

“Lance has never acknowledged my existence.

“Years ago when I was really good friends with George Hincapie we were down in Miami Beach hanging out. At the time George was in love with this latino girl who was taking his M5 and driving it around town. She had two boyfriends, George and another guy. One day the other guy called George and together they figured out her scheme.

“She was telling the other guy she had a high paying job working for a TV network and was parking Hincapie’s M5 so that her other boyfriend couldn’t see the South Carolina tags. George, just before dumping her, found a book at her house called ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ by Robert Greene. As time went on I started to wonder if George had also told Lance about this story and if Lance had then bought this book, because it tells you how to manipulate and control people. For example, one law was use ‘selective honesty’ to disarm your victim. One honest and sincere action can cover up dozens of dishonest actions.

“There were other laws about associations and guarding your reputation. I think if Lance ever gave any legal action against Stolen Underground he would have had to come down to my level. My level was the punk level. The smart ass kid level. Landis said himself that nobody ever took me seriously, and those who did pay me attention definitely would have regrets.

“I had Michael Ball threatening to sue me for attacking his team, and then I dug up a bunch of articles about his sexual assaults on women. Telling his employees they would have to sleep with him etc. Everything I ever posted was accurate. So ‘you can’t touch this’ – like MC Hammer.

“If Lance had tried to sue me, he would have lost. You can’t sue someone who is telling the truth, ask Kayle Leogrande – his lawsuit against me didn’t even make it to trial. By the way when Tygart gave Leogrande credit for the spark that brought Lance down I found that to be absolutely ridiculous.

“Travis Tygart was working for the legal team on H.R.O. when he was working for the the U.S.O.C Vs. Dr. Wade Exum.

“All he had to do was look at Dr. Wade Exum’s files and he would have found out that the U.S.O.C. and USA Cycling had been allowing Lance and Tammy Thomas to use testosterone since 1999 – and others. The whole anti-doping system is just a big game, and the more I think about it the more I think that the anti-doping system is only there because they can make money off of it.

“USADA has started the PCC, the ‘Partnership for Clean Competition’, which oversees the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA, PGA, and the NHL. The idea, as with Armstrong, is that you play favourites, you allow certain athletes to dope who can bring in a lot of sponsorship money and keep the sports popular. You allow certain athletes to dope, and others go positive to pretend you are actually cleaning up the sports. Look at the case of Kayle Leogrande Vs. USADA (by the way no athlete has ever won against USADA). When you go to trial you lose, because they control the court and you don’t have the same rights as a US Court. It is totally unconstitutional. Marion Jones and Floyd Landis have both made it painfully clear that it’s a kangaroo court.

“So let’s review Kayle Leogrande’s case. He has a positive B sample for EPO and one eyewitness Sonye. He gets a suspension.

“Now let’s look at Lance Armstrong, who had five or six positive B samples for EPO from the Tour de France and he has Betsy and Frankie Andreu’s eyewitness testimony in the hospital room that he doped, and you have Stephanie McIlvain’s secret recording which Greg Lemond made and she say’s, “You know I heard it.”

“Kayle Leogrande has tattoo’s, and is not marketable, and he is suspended. Lance Armstrong has a cancer foundation and people love him he continues to race.

“The system plays favourites and we need total reform. But keep in mind the U.S. Military Special Forces has approved five performance-enhancing drugs to give to their soldiers – and blood doping is one of them. So is it that US Olympic athletes are allowed to dope so that we can figure out what the best doping products are so that we can give them to our soldiers? I wish Jesse Ventura would do a Conspiracy Theory show on that one. Dr. Wade Exum won’t be there to speak on it, as it looks from my research that he got paid off to shut his mouth.

“My biggest regret is not secretly recording that conversation I had with him in Vegas where he told me everything. But I was smart and brought some eyewitnesses who can back up my story.”

What was the attitude towards you in the peloton when you came back in 2005?

“Everyone hated me. I thought I was doing some noble thing but like a lot of my actions they become misunderstood. What ended up happening is people were mad at me for doping. And the youth didn’t like me.

“The point was to create a better sport for the next generation but I was not inspiring to them. So I had basically burned every bridge, lost every friend I had in the sport, with the exception of maybe five guys and all of the race announcers. As far as the fans of the sport, they all hated me. I would receive hate mail on a regular basis and lots of internet bullying.

“I was told by one particular guy who was a Lance supporter that they would start off every group ride talking about the crazy stuff I said. I was told if I ever returned home I would get my ass kicked. To this day many cyclists don’t give me any respect, so I don’t do a lot of group rides etc. I am not welcome in the sport of cycling and there is no place for me. I don’t race because I don’t have any friends who race.

“Cycling is one of those sports that if the group wants to see you lose, they will do everything to make sure you never get in a break or win a stage. Just like Lance did to Simeoni in the Tour de France. When you are marked or speaking against the culture they will force you out in one way or the other.

“Landis told me starting a “fighting corruption” cycling team was too difficult. He won the Tour de France so imagine how hard what I was trying to do really was. If you want a real challenge try following in my footsteps. I got pretty close to having it all come together but just in time a crucial piece of my plan would crumble as they would pull away and side with the Armstrong supporting industry side of things.

“That said there is about 140 real cyclists out there who have donated to Stolen Underground and supported me over the years. They are the reason I did anything.”

How have you found and maintained the drive to carry on with your crusade, all these years?

“It has been my passion to seek for truth and justice in life. It is my passion to live in a world that is real and that supports the good people. I hate liars and I hate being slandered.

“The number one thing you can do to keep me in the fight is to start a fight with me. If people had just ignored me and never pissed me off I would have faded away a long time ago. But they chose to acknowledge my existence and when this happened it was World War 3.

“If Rick Crawford had never told me he was going to “kick my ass in coaching and in the streets” I would have left him alone. Instead I made little cartoon characters of him on my website and had him trying to dope up his high altitude thugs or HAT Boyz with genetically modified bean burritos that would allow them to win the Tour de France.

“Kayle Leogrande gave me the look of contempt in Vegas at Interbike which yielded a secretly recorded conversation I made with Sonye. When I get mad I ‘red out’ and I will stop at nothing to get even. This same personality trait is what made me a winning professional cyclist. You gotta have it to go out there and compete at the highest level. Bicycle racing is like war. War with bicycles. It is a war I have been involved with for over 20 years and I have a lot of experience. Not many have more. I am like a General of the sport and I know exactly what to do and how to do it. If I want to get in the media I will go to the media and camp out until a reporter speaks to me. Unfortunately they will butcher my words and change my story to be meaningless – but my name will be known and then people can come to my website and read my real information on my website. This website is now down because I have withdrawn from my anti-doping crusade.”

What do you do for a living these days?

“I work for my father we have a real estate business. I fix up places and rent them out.

“One day I will take over the business but it’s for survival, it’s not my passion. It is painful not to live your dreams when you only have one life to live.”

Matt De Canio
Matt (third left) is still fit and riding for fun.

Tyler Hamilton’s ultimate ‘fessing up’ and book – your opinion?

“I am proud of Tyler for telling the truth, and standing up to the bastard Lance. He did what was necessary and he did the right thing. I just wished he would have knocked that bully out at that restaurant in Colorado. I would have kicked Lance’s ass. I would love to fight Lance one on one like a man. Lance is the biggest pussy on the Earth hiding behind a mountain of lawyers, sponsors, and industry sell outs trying to make a dollar off his name lying about his life to take business away from the honest people in the world.

“Lance did not kill anyone, but he killed the definition of hero. To kill that definition and to destroy the heroic dreams of millions of people that is a real crime against humanity. Lance was the biggest athlete in the history of the world and he got to that status by bullying and destroying the lives and careers of anyone who stood in the way of his millions of dollars and his fame and fortune.

“His sponsors are equally guilty – you will never see me riding a Trek bicycle. I think that company is worthless and an absolute disgrace to the United States of America. Lance should move to North Korea and race for a dictator with firing squads, he would fit right in with that style. Lance is a hero to those who were not in his cross hairs, and to those who were he owes an apology – which he will never give, and even if he did will never make up for the damage he has done to so many people’s lives and careers.

“The average man will not understand because he was not a pro cyclist, and if you support Lance today I question your morals and I will say I do not respect anyone who likes him.”

Did you feel vindicated when Lance ‘fessed up’ on Oprah?

“Hell no, what did Lance do?

“Really, what did he do?

“He said everything his lawyers told him to say to save some kind of public opinion or keep him from losing all that he has. Lance needs to be knocked down to the bottom of the food chain and he needs to know what it feels like to work a blue collar job.

“He needs to know what the contractors and people of this country live through on a daily basis. I personally don’t think Lance could handle what I have lived through. Do you want to talk about LIVESTRONG? Try living the life I have lived. Lance has people kissing his ass and sucking up to him and I am sure they still do.

“He is a criminal in my opinion and I hope Uncle Sam takes all of that money and gives it to finding a cure for cancer and not fighting cancer. LIVESTRONG and Nike is a scam. They never wanted to cure cancer, notice Lance never said he wanted to cure cancer only to fight cancer. Amgen and all of his sponsors profit off of people’s sickness and cancer.

“Hope? Are you serious?”

David Walsh and Paul Kimmage role in Lance’s downfall, your opinions?

“David Walsh is the man for writing, “From Lance to Landis.” VeloNews wouldn’t sell his books, did you notice? When I asked VeloNews why they said they were scared of a lawsuit.

“Walsh told the truth and Lance pinned it as a witch hunt and took it out of the French. I love France and some of my best friends are French. He called them assholes and that country still supported him. Lance’s last tour was a showcase for LIVESTRONG. French bicycle shops promoted Lance, and he called them liars and witch hunters and assholes. I am pissed at the sellout French who sold his products and promoted him.

“But the real French champions and the youth have zero respect for Lance and that is the way it should be.

“As for Paul, when Lance said he ‘wasn’t worth the chair he was sitting in’, Paul should have smashed that chair on Lance’s head – and notice Christian Vandevelde and Tyler Phinney just shut their pretty little mouths and let Lance smack down Paul.

“Those guys are pawns in the Lance game and totally controlled by Lance. They are absolute cowards. Lance got his hands and put his power over the youth starting the LIVESTRONG/TREK development team and all of them wanted to grow up to be just like Lance a fraud. They will become that and I have heard nasty rumours about some of the guys who came from the Trek team… trust none of them.”

What do you think of the ‘sweetheart’ deals cut with David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson?

“Tom Danielson at least had the honour to respect me. He told me that Johan was the man to go after and that is why he was switching to Vaughter’s team, not that I think that team is better.

“Christian and I were friends, but Christian is all about his image. He got away with doping and took a small punishment of six months paid vacation with the rest.

“If Vaughter’s wanted to really do something for anti-doping he would have fired them all. Instead he wears his stupid suits and plays the game. He tells the people what they want to hear and steals my words and uses them to promote his own means. Zabriskie slandered me in the Salt Lake Tribune and called me a bitter crackpot and then later admitted he doped. All of those guys should not be in the sport but they remain. They are the stars and guys like me remain on the outside of the sport.”

Pat McQuaid’s part in the Armstrong saga, your opinion?

“I think Pat was in on it all. He sucks and shouldn’t be in control of anything but his tiny pecker.”

Do you think the sport is cleaner now? At VeloVeritas we still hear worrying tales of ‘micro-dosing’ at the highest levels…

“Hell no, I don’t think the sport is cleaner – I think it is just as bad as ever. I had young American’s tell me in 2010 that doping was still happening on their French teams. Nothing has changed. Nothing.

“The sport is the same. Nothing has changed and it will never change. The benefits are too large and the dopers will always dope and destroy the anti-dopers.

“It is like fighting against a nation with nuclear weapons and all you have is WW2 bombs. Anti-dopers will have small victories and small careers and the dopers will win it all and take all of the glory.”

Back in 2005 you said that Phil Zajicek had been offered ‘help’ by Chris Horner – do you still stand by that?

“When Phil tested positive he called me and begged me not to post anything about his positive and that he had a contract lined up with USPS. He said he would give me inside info on Horner in exchange.

“He told me Chris had tried to get him to dope with HGH and EPO on Saturn. Horner said it best years before at a dinner party at John Warden’s house saying, “If everyone is doing it, it ain’t cheating.”

“Phil won’t say anything about it, and neither will Chris. But do I believe Chris never used performance enhancing drugs? No. Remember Chris was backing Lance up, so that should tell you everything. I mean I know the country is filled up with ignorant people who eat partially hydrogenated soybean oil and they are stupid but come on really? Is the U.S.A. that stupid? Maybe so. I am not stupid however and if anyone seeks the truth it will be an obvious answer.”

What did you think of Horner’s win in the Vuelta?

“I didn’t watch it, and I don’t care. It is great that he won at 41 at a ripe old age, but I am not inspired nor do I care. It is meaningless to me and as far as I am concerned I am as inspired by Horner as I am a stink bug that I am about to kill crawling on my wall.

“If you want to be inspired by it, that is good for you. I say get a life and stop watching cycling because it isn’t worth your time. It is like the WWF, and it is just entertainment, just like Steve Johnson CEO of USA Cycling told me. Cycling is just entertainment. Entertainment. That is all it is. It is not real, it is just entertainment. Do you get it?”

Has anyone ever come up to you and said; ‘You know what, Matt – you were right and we were wrong?’

“Nobody has ever said anything to me that I have cared to listen to in the sport.

“I know I am correct and if you disagree you just haven’t lived in my shoes. Trust me, these shoes have been around the world in 22 countries and they have seen the highs and lows of life. They have seen it all. I am one mature and experienced guy. I have seen too much, and when I look at the world today I am not happy. I am not happy about anything I see. I see a world that is fake and I see a world I am not excited to live in. We all die and when I die I will be happy to go. I have been broke, lost my dreams, I have been blacklisted, hated, oppressed, threatened, and destroyed. Nobody wants to listen to my words because they want to believe in the lies because it makes them sleep better at night.

“Truth be told Svein Tuft is the only hero I know in cycling today. The youth should look up to him. He won a stage in the Tour de France and I believe he won it clean. Do it that way. Stay real, stay honest, and be a good person. Promote truth and justice and freedom in your life and help make the world a better place. Forget about the materialism, and the fake friends and people around you. Find happiness in the day to day. If you can’t find it, I feel you. But we can’t just cash out and go to the grave. We have to fight to make this world a better place. And if that means standing up, by all means stand up.

“Fight for a better world for the next generation even if they don’t respect you. They are kids, they don’t know what is best for them. We have to become leaders and if more people would just stand up and do the right thing then our world can be a better one. I am trying to complete the heroes journey. I am trying to find peace and happiness in my life but I struggle. I am really depressed sometimes but I am trying to find happiness and to complete the heroes journey so that one day I can be at peace with myself and the world that I live in.

“The Hero with a Thousand Faces. I am trying to be one of the heroes and I am trying to be a good person. Life is more than a start and finish line in a bicycle race. Life is a complete story. Many people need to just make up for their faults and make the world a better place. Good luck with that one, and this will be my last interview.

“I am focusing only on downhill Strava racing. I will not race again, and I do not want to be a part of the sport any more. USA Cycling raised me, and they destroyed me and many others. Fuck them. Fuck them all including the United States Olympic Committee. I should have a Nobel Peace Prize but instead I had the nothing prize. I get to go home and think about my life and all that I have fought so hard for that accomplished some change, but not enough. And if I have children and they read this I hope they know their dad was fighting everyday to make the world a better place and I hope they do the same.”

Matt emailed after we’d finished, to share a final thought;

“I would have never taken a pay-off and no amount of money will ever give me back the best years in racing I have lost.  To live your life and never know what you could have accomplished in the sport that you love so passionately is the absolute worst punishment an athlete can endure.

“I didn’t make any wrong choices in my opinion because I always followed my heart.

“I only doped my final year as a pro and that was to show the peloton I was trustworthy to add to a Tour de France roster. I would have never doped if Lance was clean and if he was hiring clean riders.

“Lance was the leader of the sport and I did what was necessary to ride the Tour de France with him.  In the end I stood up to him and I lost it all.

“But I always followed my heart, and I always will.”

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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