during the 2013 Tour de France i was contributing to two websites, PEZ Cycling News and The Roar, and amongst my observations was included the fact that Chris Froome was riding very strongly and that, as a result of the previous 20 years of the history of doping in the sport, it would be prudent to wonder just how he was riding so incredibly well.
it wasn’t an accusation. it wasn’t finger pointing. it was a wondering. i feel that anyone that has a genuine interest in this great sport has, now more than ever, a right and even a duty to ask questions when we see something that seems larger than life.
as a result of these comments, i received generally supportive feedback from around the web but, as ever, there were those who wrote comments not just supporting Froome and Sky but more or less telling me to shut up. that all this doping talk was “boring”, or “there is something called innocent until proven guilty!”
yup, indeed there is, but when the crime is largely undetectable – and when the authorities have helped it to remain so – then what’s left of the logic behind ‘innocent until proven guilty’?
we’ve been fibbed to, fobbed off, dumped on and generally treated like spoon-fed idiots for several years now. after every scandal the UCI does nothing and waits for our little voices to pipe down once again – need I name them? Festina, Puerto and on and on – then it’s back to business as usual until slaaaap – another pile of crap falls out the arse of pro cycling onto everyone but those responsible.
people come back after the dust settles, to places like this and the forums, and say ‘hey can we give these guys a break please?’ or ‘surely, SURELY it’s cleaner now!’ or ‘it must be clean, or what’s the point?’ and then bang, another dollop drops.
Gw1516. Aicar. S107. S108. It’s all just waiting in the wings. Another wave will come soon, and we’ll see the same pattern again. To believe that just 1 year after the biggest scandal that hit the sport came about that now it is clean is naive. Frank Schleck got busted, di Gregorio, Contador on ‘beef’, Mustafa Sayer, 3 RusVelo riders on ‘asthma drugs’, Santambrogio, Di Luca…
I do not understand how the committed fan can’t grasp this brief window in time that we have to question all that they see. forget clean or not, the fact that we still, in 2013, cannot be absolutely sure that the guys winning these races are indeed clean is a shame on our sport, on its officials and its standard bearers.
and yes, on its participants too. on its journalists, and even its fans, in some respects. all we ever do, collectively, is bury our heads back in the sand after each scandal.
those of us who question the legitimacy of performances do so because we have seen it all before, and we have heard it all before too. ‘Give him a break!’ – Well sure, we would, if the sport could police itself. If you didn’t learn from the Lance garbage that these tests mean almost NOTHING to anyone with the cash and the inclination to cheat then you really are a True Believer.
micro dosing. Blood doping. new stuff that may be undetectable.
the Bio Passport has been shown to actually aid the dopers – and ex-dopers have said as much. the samples taken at the Tour 2013 will be eligible for retroactive testing in years to come once tests have been developed and perfected for the new generation of drugs, and it is only then that we may see who has been on what. do those calling for people to stop ‘going on’ forget that Lance’s old tests, once retroactively tested, showed use of EPO?
and hematocrit. it is supposed to go down after the body is put through repeated stress, yet the Tour riders of recent years were found with H levels that either remained constant or went UP. is that natural too?
seriously, get over the sense of ‘us’ bashing individuals and see that is it not about that – whoever performed head and shoulders above the rest this year would have and has incurred suspicion. it is not their fault, nor ours, it is just plain as day that there is an existing pattern there that we have been gullible to swallow silently so many times.
and now we are here, in an environment in which we can for the first time ever actually say ‘hey, show us how you do it. we dearly would love to believe again.’
this isn’t ‘us’ against ‘you’, or ‘them’. because WE are the sport.
we have to take this chance. if Pat wins and if there are no changes, and all those ex-dopers come back as usual into management and the peloton shuts shop again, we are right back in the Dark Ages.
parts of this article originally appeared as a comment on The Roar
ah, done, dusted, another Tour de France down – and it was a good un, at least from a writing perspective.
i’ve selected the revelations of the 2013 Tour, they come in small and large, and you can read about them in PEZ, linked here.
“Canondale’s assault on the more traditional sprinters started off like a New York mugging but developed into a full on LA riot. There was more than just an undercurrent of malevolence to it. It was brutal, not to mention relentless.”
read all about it here.
Corsica! you kind of stole my heart there on Stage 3 with that incredible little lace of road , all a-weavin’ and a-groovin’ like that through the red lunar landscape, the ocean calling my name in the background. you’re kinda married to France but looking to divorce i hear, let me know and i’ll be over there with a bottle of vino and my mandolin, and into the sunset we shall elope. you’re wild, revolutionary, lush and super old – just my type…
read my Stage 3 analysis in full right here, on PEZCycling News.
ever close we edge to the Tour.
and with every step it feels like Sky are going to smother the thing like a mafia killing on an sick informer.
‘don’t struggle Alberto. it’ll all be over soon…’
i analyse the last stage of the Dauphine and deal with doping allegations, La Vie Claire comparisons and a Badger, all right here.
DOPED UP LIKE DI LUCA
might well be crankpunk’s first t-shirt. if that appeals let me know…
anyway, i’ve finished my Giro reporting on PEZ, it has been one heck of a ride as well, what a cracking race. hats off to Nibali, and, for that matter, to Uran ‘Wild Boy’ Uran and to Cuddles too.
yes, another installment over on PEZ, analysing a thrilling Stage Ten of this mightily eventful Giro…
yes, read the latest crankpunk lowdown on the Giro, this time ruminating on the rest day, on the Pez Cycling website.
awesome stage 7, what a ride by the very big Adam Hansen, read my take on it here.
ah, the last of the great spring classics has come and gone, oh woe is us!
what a corker of an early season it’s been, already looking forward to 2014.
highlights? too many to mention, but Spartacus and Vanmarcke battling like true gladiators over the cobbles and on into the hallowed Roubaix velodrome will live long in the memory.
‘delicious’ is the word i’d choose to describe that one.
anyway, here’s the link to the Pez article, hope you like it.
do whatever you do, but whatever you do, don’t forget to crank on…
and if you can, add a little punk.