For Bjarne Riis and Oleg Tinkov the past is never a different country but always present. Frenemies who have the sharps to build something good in cycling but who seem to spend much of their time tearing it down.

We know them well. Riis won the 1996 Tour de France as "Mr. 60 percent", doped up to the eyeballs as he made a mockery of the sport on the road. Tinkov doing the same but for different reasons - team owner more interested in being the centre of attention and a bigger star than the riders he employed.

Our dynamic duo, one a usually taciturn Dane, the other a bombastic oligarchic Russian capitalist, has spent the past week or so throwing punches at each other over the now defunct Tinkoff (formerly Tinkoff-Saxo), in which they both once had a legacy.

"Many times I have asked myself about what happened. I have no answer, and it no longer means anything to me. I have long since moved on," Riis told Ekstra Bladet in an interview (translated by Cyclingnews) showing that he hadn't really moved on.

Riis suggested that Tinkov was filled with envy over the respect he is usually given by many within the sport despite his doping past.

"I think it was envy," he said. "I enjoyed the respect of the riders and the other employees. Respect is something you have to deserve. It's something you build up over years. It is not something you buy."

Of course, there was no way Tinkov was going to let that one go. In typical style, Tinkov shot back.

"I guess it is hard to understand the nature of capitalism, growing up in socialistic Denmark," he told Cyclingnews.

"I never said that before, but if he opens up the discussion, I should say that people like Riis, (Johan) Bruyneel and (Jonathan) Vaughters must be banned out of cycling for life.

"They not only highly promoted doping but also materially benefit from it. I see this as a crime, actually. Pity that such a people are getting back into my sport."

Professional wrestling has nothing on these two. Sadly, both are likely to be back running WorldTour teams sometime in the future and judging on career form, probably in partnership. They deserve each other.

Tuesday 8 Nov 2016

With daily news of state-sanctioned doping programs being outed and individual athletes being sanctioned its beginning to look like the fight against doping is being lost. Perhaps it already is.

Unless there is collective responsibility for the health of athletes and for the consequences of pushing performance to the limit, the outcomes may become unpalatable.

There is lot of rhetoric about inspiring the younger generation into sport and physical activity. The current doping debate cannot inspire confidence that there is a zero tolerance or the collective will to improve anti-doping. But it is a circular discussion, as we do not appear to be clear about what, why and how, just a focus on athletes we target for testing, for medical data and for sanctions.

There are other ways to engage with athletes to qualify them as fit to compete under clear anti-doping rules, have we not chased them for long enough?

With some radical thinking, the biological passport could be supplemented with useful, independently audited, individual health screening using a plethora of testing methods of benefit to the athlete.

So much more could be achieved, but it would take the kind of transnational collaboration, commitment and willingness from sports federations and organisations, national Governments and intergovernmental groups, to move from entrenchment to enterprise. I hoped this was intended from the outset.

Should and could WADA be part of a new era for anti-doping? Not without some fundamental changes to governance, which must come from within.

I am not convinced that the debate that started in 1999 has finally reached the point where sweeping progress is possible. At this moment in time, too many vested interests exist, with too much power and too little respect for sport or athletes to do the right thing.

The doping crisis and the sense of déjà vu by Michele Verroken at Inside The Games.