well it certainly has been a while, apologies i think should be offered, but you know what? i’ve been riding, for hours and hours a day (well 4), and i’m loving it. after almost 3 months laid up with a severe case of lackofmotivation, followed by various injuries, i’m finally back on the bike and just can’t get enough. tiredness has been winning though, i’ll have to up the greens.
these periods of BikeLove are not to be pondered. just go ride the sh*t out of your steed, till your arse hangs in ribbons and your hands look like you actually do a Real Man’s job (miner, dock hand, florist). such times are to be cherished, not questioned, for sure enough it won’t be long before the pain wins out – if, that is, you’re riding you’re bike properly…
anyway, where was i? oh yes Paul Kimmage. this guy doesn’t just poop out the party at the party, he actually drops one in his pants in the car on the way over. that’s why his face looks like that.
when i read on CyclingSnooze the headline ‘Kimmage unconvinced by Sky & Wiggins‘ my immediate reaction was oh Paul, give it a rest. It was an instinctive reaction, from the gut, not the head.
here’s what he said:
“If you apply the same standards to Tour winner Bradley Wiggins as to Lance Armstrong, concerning inquiries and logic, then there are similarities which are alarming.”
“You look at how dominant their teams were: Postal for Armstrong, Sky for Wiggins. They had a core of four, five riders, who rode strongly for those three weeks without one single weak day. You think: is that logical?
“You look at what happened after the Tour. Sky threw out the team doctor and three others. Michael Rogers left, he was one of the strongest riders. I don’t know anyone who could say that this was a fully convincing Tour win.”
and then i thought, ok, let’s think about this. so i did. and here’s what i thunk. first off, thank **** that we are at a point in time where someone can actually say stuff like that, about something that troubles them and is concerning doping, without being burnt at the stake. in any case, if you keep up with the forums, you’ll know that many of the guys on there have have exactly the same misgivings.
also, what have Sky done to be above reproach, above questioning? have they made their internal testing available online? no. have they requested the UCI publish their riders biological passport info? no. have they had a dodgy doctor and one rider admit to doping? yes. ok, Wiggins has spoken out about doping and i want to believe him, but he has the misfortune of being a very very good rider in a historically dirty sport and at a time when the abuses of banned substances has been shown to be – or have been – institutionalized and systematic.
and then there’s the news of EPO Z and another new undetectable drug that actually changes muscles, and, uh, well read it and despair.
so don’t give it a rest Paul. keep it coming.
next: Curse of the Dopers.
ok, so Katusha are free and welcome to race at Pro Continental level. awesome. no dopers at WorldTour level, but come race and probably dominate at the second tier, that’s fine.
this whole way of thinking is affecting me personally, because at Continental level you have the situation where unscrupulous managers are hiring well-known dopers to race for them. in some cases they’re South Americans who have a shed load of UCI points but who more established Euro teams won’t touch with a barge pole – yes, they are THAT dirty.
but they get rides on UCI Conti teams in other countries, then that team gets invited to certain races cos of the points they have (as they look strong), which means that teams like mine, and others, lose out. one particular team i know just signed two uber dodgy dudes for this very purpose, but, fortunately, a highly-placed friend of mine who knows the UCI hierarchy, has lodged an official complaint. we’ll see what happens.
the whole system needs to be addressed – dopers should get 4 year bans that exclude them from riding for any team from Continental up. otherwise it’s nothing but a farce…
well if cyclingnews is actually having a pop at The Human PinCushion you know the brownstuff has truly hit the fan. cyclingnews has its place of course and crankpunk does, as i’m sure most of you do, check in there about once a day at least to get the skinny on the skinnies, but it has to be said that, if you were to compare the experience of reading their reports with dining out, it’s less dinner at the Savoy than the literary equivalent of chewing dried horse leather on a splintery park bench with nothing in front of you but a concrete wall. in the fog.
what you get is what you read and not a great deal else, and much like many other well-respected and perhaps all-too established tomes, there was for many a year a certain over-reverentiality when it came to LA. he was the lunch-ticket, after all. the majority of journos had heard the rumors too but hey, they have a job to do and a family to feed, right? which is why through all of this crankpunk’s respect for Paul Kimmage has grown. cast your mind back to that press conference when PK asked (perhaps a tad indelicately) LA about his attitude to dopers.
if you look closely you can see Lance’s eyes blink vertically a couple of times and a forked tongue slip between his teeth before he skins the Irishman from 5 meters with a few well aimed tounge lashings. and when the great man is done? people in the room applaud. nice.
and so it was with some surprise that crankpunk read this article on CN today. it’s not a bad piece and it has some decent points to make and i am not having a cheap pop at is author, though it’s odd to see CN suddenly allowing an editorial-style piece up there amongst the usual one-dimensional fare – but the question that sprang to mind was – why now? well i know why now. LA is busted, done, he’s a mullard upside down in the water slowly sinking from all the buckshot that took him down. he may as well be wearing concrete sidis. no way is he gonna be suing anyone anytime soon. he’s a safe target.
and that kind of sticks in the craw a little. for years CN’s modus operandi was to publish what people said or did. you didn’t get gossip or hearsay, and perhaps quite rightly, but you also rarely got opinion. as far as LA went, it was as though spoon-feeding the cycling public a few spoonfuls of The Myth every morning was all part of the duty of the great majority of the cycling press, the media and its footmen, the journos. so to the writer of that article i say good job, but to CN’s management i say, well, you’re a bit late for the party, nice frock and i love what you’ve done with you hair but the bar mitzvah was 3 years ago.
if they follow this up though with a similar piece on the UCI i will take it all back. well, half of it…
but it seems, incredibly, it wasn’t just the vast majority of the public who were conned by our steely Texan friend (along with Phil Ligget, who only a month or so called all the doping allegations ‘hearsay’ , who’s inexorably slow but steady distancing himself from LA over the past few days has been staggeringly painful to witness – he looks haggard, and a little part, just a bite-sized chunk, of crankpunk’s heart goes out to him), but his fellow riders too.
australian vet Stuart O’Grady. i don’t know where to start, so i’ll let him begin… “I believed that he (Armstrong) won those seven Tours clean. I wanted to believe that like everyone else.” Stu made his debut at the Tour in ’98 when the Festina affair happened, and rode all the way through the Puerto scandal and saw rider after rider get busted for dope. to his credit he says he knew about the rumors and the gossip, but the naiivete of his statement is staggering. he believed because he wanted to believe? wow that’s a trick i’d like to learn. i mean, i want to believe in a whole broom wagon full of things but it doesn’t quite work that way. there’s things called doubts, circumstantial evidence, and the knowledge that so very many guys at the very top were juiced heavier than the man from Del Monte.
on a more sensible note, one fellow that crankpunk would like to high five is Paul Willerton, who just the other day strolled down to Nike’s HQ in Beaverton, Oregon, with a pencil case, some sticks and a few pieces of paper with some pals to protest about Nike’s decision to stand by LA despite recent revelations (and Revelations is apt – this does feel like The Fall of God…). Willerton (a former teammate of Lance) just seemed to have got rather fed up with Nike’s indefensible position. and, incredibly, he got his point across. in an about turn a heck of a lot quicker than Mr Ligget’s, Nike today announced that they had changed their corporate uber-mind and had terminated their contract with LA.
“Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner,” said a Nike spokesman nervously as he stood a few feet away from a getaway car, the driver gunning the engine and ready to get back th the Make Mo’Money office. so Nike’s position on that is now clear but the statement failed to make their stance clear on performance non-enhancing drugs. fear not Nike-sponsored snowboarders and downhillers, you’re still safe to flame up.
as if all that wasn’t enough, you schadenfreude addict you, news is just coming in that Lance has stepped down as chairman of the Livestrong foundation, in an attempt to ‘limit the damage’. jeez.
the worm, ladies and gents,has definitely turned…