He should have known the 'roid rage' accusations would fly, especially from people like us. Cyclist Marty Jemison wanted to settle an old grudge, so he punched out the doctor who hinted that he doped. To the VeloNews:
It was over in an instant, but the altercation between a Tour of Utah race official and Garmin-Chipotle team doctor Prentice Steffen was years in the making.
During the stage 3 criterium in Salt Lake City last Friday, Tour of Utah team liaison Marty Jemison, a former U.S. Postal Service rider, punched Steffen after the team doctor made what Jemison considered to be an inflammatory remark about alleged doping dating back over a decade.
'Altercation'? Sounds like a sucker-punch. And of course, the obligatory Lance Armstrong connection.
Jemison and Steffen worked together at U.S. Postal during the 1996 season; Jemison was a talented American rider on the upstart squad, and Steffen was an emergency room physician and admitted recovering heroin addict.
In 2001 Steffen told Irish reporter David Walsh that in 1996 U.S. Postal riders Jemison and Tyler Hamilton had approached him during the Tour of Switzerland looking for information about illegal doping products. Steffen said he reported the incident to then-director Mark Gorski, and at the end of that year his contract with the team was not renewed
“Two of my riders approached me saying they wanted to talk about the medical program,” Steffen told Walsh, adding that he understood the conversation as to be related to doping. Hamilton and Jemison both vehemently denied the accusations.
In October 2005, shortly after L’Equipe published a story alleging that EPO had been found in Lance Armstrong’s urine samples from the 1999 Tour, Steffen reiterated his earlier allegations in the French newspaper and staked new claims about the doping practices at top-level Tour de France teams, including Armstrong’s Discovery Channel squad.
Discovery spokespeople attacked Steffen’s credibility, dismissing the allegations as those of a disgruntled former employee. Under pressure, Steffen immediately retracted his statements about Armstrong and was compelled to resign from his position as team physician with the domestic TIAA-CREF team, but he returned with the team the following year.
Then the sucker punch. This dude needs to back off the dose of nandrolone:
Fast forward to stage 3 of the 2008 Tour of Utah — the first time Jemison, a Utah native, had crossed paths with Steffen since the original allegations first went public in 2001. Steffen said that the first words out of Jemison’s mouth were “I hate you,” which Jemison did not deny.
“I thought he was going to follow it up with a little laugh or something, but he didn’t,” Steffen said. “He was quite serious, and I said, ‘okay.’ He said ‘you know, your comments were really damaging.’ And I said ‘yeah, but they were really true.’ And he said ‘no, they weren’t. And I said ‘of course they were,’ and I started to walk away, knowing that the conversation wasn’t going to go anywhere.
“I got maybe 10 feet away, and he said, ‘no, come on, I want to talk to you about it.’ I hesitated, but thought, ‘maybe we’ll resolve this once and for all.’ I went back. He said something, I’m not sure what he said, and I said something like ‘Twelve years later, we’re still trying to clean up the mess you idiots made.’ And that was when he punched me. It was over before I even knew what happened. I didn’t know someone could hit someone so fast.”
Steffen said that he simply picked up his glasses and walked away, and that BMC rider Scott Nydam, who was nursing a broken collarbone, offered to be a witness for a police report. Sporting a cut lower lip, Steffen spoke with the race’s operations director Chad Sperry on the morning before stage 4. Sperry told Steffen he “understood, and apologized, but that he needed Marty to make the stage happen safely.”
Always good when adults work things out in a mature way.