The Outer Line: The Forgive Me Roadshow

by crankpunk

i’ve written this before but it’s worth noting again i think. when i started crankpunk i was between journalism jobs and seeking an outlet to write about what is one of the driving passions of my life, the bike, and all things cycling. as a rider and a racer who dropped out of the sport at 18 largely because of a disenchantment brought on by a growing awareness of doping at the top level, i was aware, as i returned to the sport after an almost two decade hiatus, that pro cycling was probably dirtier than ever (this was 2008), but had my love rekindled by rediscovering the simple joy of riding, and soon after, racing once again.

that the beginning of crankpunk coincided with the breaking of the investigation by USADA was a coincidence, but one that had and continues to have a profound effect on the content of this site. i believe that it’s impossible to separate that love for this sport and the curse of illegal substance abuse in cycling, and though it is a scandal in itself and an indictment of the severe failings of Verbruggen’s and MacQuaid’s UCI presidencies that it has fallen to ordinary fans to drive for the change so needed in the sport, this is where we are.

the bureaucrats failed cycling, many of the pros failed cycling, the team managers, doctors and organisers of races too, for so many years, that the onus is on us to make some f*&%ing noise. don’t listen to anyone who says it doesn’t matter anymore. it matters more than ever, with a certain Texan trying again to write his own script and squirm back into something resembling respectability – and not just him, others are at it too, some do it in their own passive aggressive manner, a la Leipheimer, others do it whilst polishing their own home-spun halos, like Hamilton, whilst countless others just go away for 2 years then resurrect careers and watch their bank accounts grow once again.

the web offers us an opportunity to make a little noise here and there, and though it is difficult to quantify how much, it does get noticed. whether these voices will ever influence policy is another matter, one that yet remains to be seen. but with people like Steve Tilford out there, and sites like Bike Pure amongst others, and with others coming along here and there, the clamour is growing.

one other that i’ve mentioned here is The Outer Line, whose authors have just posted an article very much worth a read, entitled The Forgive Me Roadshow, offering another reminder (and yes, it seems it is required, judging from some of the comments people post on cp and in other places) that nothing has changed for LA – his ‘Tour of Redemption’ (as termed by Betsy Andreu) sees him pulling out all the old tricks and carrying on business as usual.

a recommended read.

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4 comments

  1. MikeB

    It is hard to know the solution. For the future, it seems to me that only countries who are willing to make doping in sport a criminal matter have the tools, gun and badge, to uncover what was has been going on for a century.
    So in future restrict world tour to those countries.

    For the past the justice is all so arbitrary it is hard to think that anything can fix it. What annoys me is even the ” so called” good guys do not play to the rules, take the dates between informing lance in france at the time and the charging letter made it impossible for diplomacy. USADA had to be seen to offer – they did not offer in a way that made acceptance possible, then went outside cycling rules into US law to extend SOL. Bruyneel may be guilty as hell, but they broke the rules in putting evidence in public domain before hearing now telling all others to stay quiet. And so on. They let hincapie ride his last tour which stinks.

    It seems to me indurain survived by refusing to speak other than spanish on interview, and the spanish have never been seen to care, so was never forced into denials, so is a national hero, had the spanish journalists contained such as Walsh, then you havr to wonder. it is all such a mess. I have always found walsh and kimmage too abrasive to gain trust ( Though I did contribute to his fund)

    Contrary to almost all others I think a suitably contrite doper, reforming to win again( as athlete chambers could have done had they let him) would be a good advert for clean sport. Chambers did the second ? fastest ever indoor 60m years after. Arguably the doping did little for him.

    So how to fix it? No idea, but the gun and badge make a good start.

    • crankpunk

      i hear you on Kimmage and Walsh, but also i think it has to be remembered that they had to be so aggressive to be heard. i suspect neither would have wanted to come across as they have, but also feel they had little choice. sometimes to reach people who have trouble making up their own minds you have to go to an extreme point just to start them thinking, just to get them moving. i’m also not sure how to ‘fix’ all this, but that we are talking in the open now is a huge step, one we can’t relinquish.

      hopefully – and i know hope is easily manipulated – but hopefully, the people in positions of power now are driven by a real desire to clean stuff up, and not just paying lip-service.

      we shall see.

  2. MikeB

    Off topic – I know – I would love to know what did motivate Walsh and Kimmage. If you read Kimmages autobiography it seems to me the guy was in the worst territory for athletes: having devoted his life to the sport he was good enough to be lauded as having international potential, in the top 0.1% of cyclists perhaps, but never good enough to make it , for which you needed top 0.01% In tone at least his book is one long whinge about his inabiliity to do so, blaming all but the fact he was not good but not good enough, and seemed to have a grudge against those who were. Just finishing a race was an acievement for him – or so the reader is led to think. But at least somewhere deep down he radiateda passion for the sport, as his piece on martin winning a stage proved.

    Walsh on the other hand only ever seemed to have a passion for a scoop, not for the sport. He wanted to catch big rats, so looked ( i suppose rightly) upon cycling as a suitable sewer to find them. His stuff on sky comes over as dispassionate, clinical journalism. He could have described the failings of the tax system in no different tone.

    BTW crankie – did you see my comment on JTL – I am really concerned on how much volume passport stability testing has been done to know how stable blood really is. Coukd he be the first victim of unstable blood? Just as diabetis causes unstable blood sugar levels?
    I no longer believe lance on much, but there is something about his denials for the come back period that makes me think it is possible he is telling the truth about that.

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