wait, or does he get blown? or was that Bill? and who had the stain, in the end? was it Monica? or Hilary? or… what? Lance’s kids? ah dammit, crankpunk’s all confused.
still, no need to worry because in just about a decade the world’s favorite reptile-human hybrid will be Our President (and when i say Our i mean America’s, by which i mean The World’s, by which I mean, as i wrote in the first place, Our). or at least, i think that’s what he’s on about.
yesterday’s version of VeloNation had the report about LA comparing himself to Bill Clinton, spinning a slippery, silvery, deep throat thread between his decade plus of serious PED abuse and attacks on just about everyone’s character with Ol’ Bill’s ‘misdemeanour’ – as delivered by the lips of one Monica Lewinsky.
never in the history of man has a blowjob been quite so good and yet so ultimately harmful, one suspects, even though, again, ultimately, Ol’ Bill ‘Check Out My Election Pole’ Clinton managed to wiggle out of it, much as about 3.68 million of his sperm also did, over and down Monica’s dress.
‘i love the Oral Office,’ said America’s sax-loving Prez at the time, which was all the time, with a wink and a nudge…
“Ultimately, people forgive and forget and remember the good stuff you did,” Armstrong said in an interview with Texas Monthly recently. “Is it hard to do? Yeah. But Clinton did it – he loves to work, he loves people, he loves to hustle.
“He’s a hero of mine. He’s a tough guy, he’s smart, surrounded himself with good people,” he said. “Like Johan, Pat, that doctor with the Ferrari, Hein and the Yes Crew,” he didn’t say but really should of.
In a moment that left me wondering just what planet LA actually lives on, he had the temerity to say: “It’s ‘Act 3.’ It’s all these things that people think about in Shakespearean terms.”
whuuuuuuuut? what was that Marx said? ‘Jesus my eyebrows are getting out of hand…’
no, the other Marx… ‘history repeats itself, first as tragedy, secondly as farce,’ that was it. LA’s story is that, more Marxian than Shakespearean. there are no redeeming features in LA’s story. it’s just a tragical farce, or maybe a farcical tragedy. but he doesn’t get to have an ‘Act 3′, right? well, he does if he has anything to do with it.
not content with taking up even more than his allocated oxygen supply for a lifetime, he soldiered on, hoisting more and more soil over his shoulder as an 8-man legal team mopped his sweaty brow.
“The stain’s not going away – my girls will grow into it. My two little ones will grow into it. This stain will live forever. I’ll never get rid of it,” he bleated. “I’ll just try and do the best for my family, my community, my constituency – whatever that may be…’
my CONSTITUENCY! i called this ages ago, LA for Governor. coming soon to a state full of loons near you.
“There are days,” he said, “I think, ‘I shouldn’t have done the interview (with Oprah)’. But then I see my kids, see the way they’re acting, the way they’re interacting. I see the way my son plays basketball, the way he hustles, the way he’s focused. I see a different kid.”
[cue images of apple pie, puppies, Liberty, the 4th of July, Mother Theresa french kissing an orphan back to life, a hamburger and fireworks that write 'U.S.L.A!' in the sky]
America, you cannot let this man back. you just can’t. please, whatever you do, just say no to crack – i mean, Lance… and crack, say no to crack too, but say no to Lance first…
as a freelance journalist i’m often in touch with the editor’s and sub-editors of some of the world’s leading cycling magazines, a couple of whom have told me that they’ve had a significant increase on the cancellation of subscriptions – the reason? LanceGate. in January’s Cycle Sport magazine, one Kevin Gately of New Joyzey sent in a letter which explains the thinking behind his own decision to stop buying his once-beloved monthly magazine:
“Somebody said the mob left Vegas and it took over US Postal Pro Cycling team. That’s how they operate. The evidence supports it. Our notice letter used terms like ‘enforcer’ and ‘omerta’ and ‘code of silence’. They are powerful and strong and serious words. But the evidence that supports that is serious too. If anything it was an understatement.”
La Haine (1995, dir. Matthieu Kassovitz) is one of crankpunk’s favorite films. set across Paris and filmed in stunning black and white, it follows three friends from a housing estate as they struggle to come to terms with police brutality, poverty and a searing sense of hopelesness. in it, a character called Hubert gets philosophical and delivers these memorable lines:
good ol’ Lance, what a wonderful sense of humor he has. here he is pictured above with a series of yellow jerseys that mean nothing whatsoever…
you have to wonder about the state of mind of the guy – or rather, the mindset, because he’s been like this for as long as the world has known him. petty, indignant, short-tempered, vindictive, &, well, quite the little Princess really – and here he is trying to annoy… who, exactly? this gesture, he may contend, is for his fans, but if they’re buoyed by as cheap a shot as this then things must be hard indeed in WeStillLoveLanceLand.
this is the not much more than the schoolyard bully taunting you with your stolen Twizzler in his hand. in fact, it’s worse than that, because those jerseys represent so very little, other than 7 hollow victories. do we care that he was possibly the best rider of that doped generation? not if we have sense. he, along with Verbruggen & co., engendered that culture, supported it, thrived in it. if there’s one thing missing from this image, it’s a bag of blood on a stand dripping into his raised left arm…
nice try Lance. that might have worked back in 6th grade, but not anymore. it’s not a sense of indignation in his detractors that he’s summoned with this, though certainly not pity either. if anything, it’s exactly what they’d expect. a tired, sad, futlie gesture that proves nothing but the fact that he has completely lost any sense of perspective, any sense of what might be better for the sport he proclaims to love. hopefully Bruyneel will go through with his appeal against USADA’s ruling and LA’ll be indicted, and then he can turn up to court wearing all of his 7 yellowed jerseys.
until then, i guess he’ll just keep on being Lance…
excellent piece here from fellow racer Will Routley, that i’ll copy and repeat in full.
this originally appeared in The Vancouver Sun
“I had no choice, I had to ‘cross the line’ or end my dream.” This is just a taste of the utter garbage that has filled my ears as of late.
To say I am frustrated would be an understatement. Cyclists are coming out of the woodwork at the moment — big name athletes admitting to doping. I use the term ‘admitting’ loosely, as in reality they have been caught and forced to come clean. Canadian legend Michael Barry is on the list, many American superstars are on the list; it is saddening to say the least.
Throughout this ordeal I have noticed that we are primarily hearing interviews and opinions coming from the dopers themselves. I am wondering where the opinion of a real, clean athlete is, so I’m going to offer one.
excellent article from Stuart Stevens in Outside Magazine, first published in 2003 but just as relevant now. Stuart was fed up with reading about all these athletes on EPO and HGH and decided to actually take the stuff then write about it. great read!
the director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, announced recently he wanted no rider to replace Armstrong as the winner of the 7 Tours that he was stripped of by USADA as a result of the overwhelming evidence that he doped his way to those victories.
“There won’t be a winner,” bleated Prudhomme. “The formal decision will be taken by the UCI [the UCI confirmed the USADA decision] but for us, it’s very clear; we want to leave the palmares blank. The USADA report accuses a system and an era. This era must be remembered as an era without winners.”
and so the record books will show this, perhaps?
there is however a perfectly valid argument that contends that despite the widespread and institutionalized practises that went on in those years, there were indeed some guys that were clean, and that, as the UCI, their team managers, the race organizers, the media and their fellow riders failed these guys, one of them deserves to be proclaimed the winner. there is someone out there – he might have come 49th, or 112th, but he rode it clean, and he knows it. now all we need to do is find him, and the other 7 or 8 or ten guys who didn’t dope, and we need to hand them LA’s winnings and get them sponsorships with Nike, Oakley, Trek and PissPoorBeer.
it is indeed a worthy argument but it’s also utterly impractical, for the simple fact that it’s impossible to know who was truly clean and when. even if all samples were to be retroactively tested, we still wouldn’t know who hadn’t doped prior to the Tour. it’s the same for so many races, but not all – with the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Tour of California we needn’t fear, as the winner, confessed doper Levi Leipheimer, was definitely clean at the time.
how do we know? because he told us. if only it was always that simple and we could rely on the honesty and integrity, as we can with good old Levi.
the only candidate for those Tour wins that have been stripped from LA is this guy:
he lives with his owner a stone’s throw from the finish line on the Champs, has never had any drug more powerful than a bump of coke he found in a cigarette paper by a tree on the Avenue back in ’90 (which led to a sordid one night stand with a labradoodle that was far too tall for him), and, apart from that, is the cleanest thing we could find that had any association with the race during those years. already a bit of a dog about town, when contacted to be told of the proposed awarding of the 7 Tour titles Eric barked, then told crankpunk: ‘cool, really it’s great, whatever makes me more popular with the bitches…’
crankpunk is not in the best of moods as a result of a strained back muscle sustained in a race on Sunday that means my buttocks are permanently clenched and i can’t even break wind without spasms of pain. which is awesome, obviously. we did win though (i was racing in a Gentlemen’s Race – not that you’d have known it), and by a mere 0.36 of a second, which makes the pain just slightly more bearable.
and so i’m going to talk today about how to prevent injuries whilst racing. just joking. it’s all doping, folks. maybe one day when all this has been either swept under the already very bumpy carpet or actually sorted out i can then write about such mundane things as training, racing, results, the love of the bike and so on. maybe.
but for now – dope.
is momentum gathering? voices emerging? the tower block of power swaying? yes, i think that’s all happening. several encouraging signs have emerged in the past few days that suggest that we may well and truly be turning a corner – and all it took was the near-destruction of our beloved sport – how fairytale-esque. first up of course was Lemond’s call for
Daffy McEvadeTheTruth - sorry, i meant Pat McQuaid – to resign.
crankpunk had to read the letter twice and then to check on the ethernet to be sure it was genuine, so lacking in doublespeak was the text, so genuinely cheesed off was its author, and so unpolished the tirade- and that made it all the more powerful. in a world where everything gets checked and authorized, screened by lawyers and sprayed with l’Eau de Bollocks – here finally was something so very real, something that hadn’t been within 100 miles of a lawyer and, to top it all off, it was written by a three-time winner of the Tour de France.
Greg Lemond is an honorary crankpunk, make no doubt about it.
so that was good. i liked that. it was heavy-handed, more of a brick hurled at the cranium than a piercing arrow to the heart but it was solid, a good start.
then Marcel Kittel suddenly popped along with his tweet (be careful with those though people, for as they say, too many tweets makes a tw*t). if somehow you missed it, here it is:
‘I feel SICK when I read that Contador, Sanchez & Indurain still support Armstrong. How does someone want to be credible by saying that?!’
wait though- Contador and his beef come from Spain. Sanchez I’m pretty sure isn’t a Swedish name, think he’s Spanish too. and Indurain is also Spanish. Spaniards supporting convicted dopers, that must be unprecedented… anyway, to Marcel, a doff of the cap. he could have thought twice before sending that around the globe but, as i’m sure lemond has done, he sensed that there is something in the air and that comments such as these are not going to be punished either from within the peloton nor by the UCI, which, given it’s current plight is no real surprise.
Another young rider that has come of attention through a tweet is BMC Racing’s Taylor Phinney, who commended Steve Cummings’ for winning the final stage of the 2012 Tour of Beijing without the aid even of vitamins.
“He, like me, follows his own personal policy of no caffeine pills and no painkillers. Purest of the pure!” wrote Phinney.
the young American explained that he felt that painkillers and caffeine tablets could be used as stepping stones to banned substances. tellingly, in an interview with Velonation, he went on to say that “I feel comfortable talking about this right now, in light of recent events.” and that, i feel, is one of the great positives to come from all the brouhaha – riders now feel that they can make their anti-doping position clear without fear of recrimination. had someone like Phinney spoken out 2, 5, or 15 years ago he’d have been flayed alive.
remember the words of the French sports minister, Marie-George Buffet (who was known for always having pockets overflowing with those little sausages and cheese on toothpicks), who spoke about the treatment the peloton dished out to Cedric Bassons, who spoke out about doping in the peloton in the late 90s: “What a strange role reversal. Rather than fighting against doping, they’re fighting its opponent.”
Speaking in 1998, when Bassons was known for not doping but had yet to write about doping publicly, he said: “They [teammates and team management and other riders] have ruined three years of my life as a racer.” so things have changed, and Kittel and Phinney are proof of that, and more power to them. almost certainly there’ll be no sideways glances next time they race nor hands on their shoulder, pulling them aside for a little ‘chat’ in the midst of the pack. indeed, riders like Kittel and Phinney could soon find that their economic value rises as their stance against doping should make them more attractive to sponsors. if the gods are watching then Levi should end up riding nothing more competitive than a watt trainer at his local gym, as these guys rise, but we’ll have to see.
the fact that Giro d’Italia director Michele Acquarone has praised Phinney’s words does indeed suggest that being clean and stating the fact is to be encouraged. “I was hugely impressed by the position that Taylor Phinney and some other young riders have taken against doping,” Acquarone said. “He said he was happy to finish fourth in the Olympics, knowing that he competed clean. That’s a great thing to say and perfectly represents the true spirit of sport.”
Acquarone is not just praising the riders who come out against doping, he’s actually designed a race for them. the 2013 Giro course feature shorter stages to allow riders to recover and to be a ‘rider’s tour’, meaning that the parcours will not be demanding impossible feats from the riders, and that nor will the public’s desire to see heroics be so pampered for. i’d say though that the majority of fans would rather see three mountain summits, a 130km course and real racing than gargantuan distances, 5 summits and over-tactical riding.
as a racer myself on the Asia Tour i know that the majority of racers prefer shorter stages where we can actually race from the get-go, rather than 200km+ stages where you just let a break go then sit in all day. bring on Reality, Michele – i think we can handle it.
much was written and said recently about Sky’s new anti-doping pledge and that it was not the “correct course” yet despite the criticism the team held its position, and as a result we’ve seen Bobby Julich leave after admitting to taking EPO, and now Steven de Jongh and Sean Yates go. in the case of Yates and de Jongh there has been no confirmation in regards to previous doping incidents, but Yates insistence that he knew nothing about Armstrong’s doping over his years of working with him are quite simply difficult to believe. i’ll leave it at that. if anyone does want crankpunk’s opinion, i feel that anyone who returned any sort of positive from before today should not be working in a managerial position in this sport.
we can talk about the loss of knowledge all day, if that were to come into effect, but their knowledge is tainted, and there are plenty of good, professional, honest and clean ex-riders and coaches out there looking for work. again, we need change, not more of the same.
and finally, on this PunkPost of Hope, we come to the news that both Liquigas-Cannondale and Radioshack’s managers have come out in support of the newspapers’ Manifesto, as reported here. Roberto Amadio and Luca Guercilena say the Manifesto needs the support of the peloton and agree with its aims.
“We agree with the idea of an independent committee and for anti-doping controls that are given to WADA. Increasing the length of bans for doping are also ok: there’s nothing wrong with that. We’ll accept any rules by those who govern us,” said Amadio.
“I’m optimistic because there’s been a huge change in the peloton. The manifesto seems to contain a correct message but more for the past than the present. We shouldn’t forget that huge advances in prevention have been done thanks to the introduction of the Biological Passport and the whereabouts program in 2008.”
that last statement kind of denies the damage done as a result due to Armstrong’s comeback in 2009 but we can let that slide. what is a little more undermining though is the fact that Amado broke an agreement in 2008 not to sign former dopers when he secured the signature of Ivan Basso. there’s always something it seems, eh?
but, fear not fellow devotees to the greatest sport on the planet, there are some little green shoots of recovery emerging. caution and vigilance, however, are very much advised…
it’s a first. crankpunk is lost for words.
this is from the mouth of the meat-loving Alberto Contador…
“It appears to me, that in more than a few places, they are not treating Lance with any respect at all; they are humiliating and lynching him, at least from my point of view. They are destroying him. They are speaking about Lance now, but there is not any sort of new proof or anything. They’ve based everything on witnesses that talked in 2005. I respect the decision of every rider, but I would have liked that they did things earlier. We are controlled to the maximum. We have to be available at every moment. The measures that we have now are at the maximum they can be.”
what was that i was saying about unity…