it’s sunday, and it’s late, and curse the Belgians for making their beer so damn good, but thanks i guess for Eddy and all that cycling stuff. speaking of Eddy, earlier this year i was racing in Qatar, had just left the hotel and was on my way to the car park where the bikes were stored in a huge tent, when a rather portly gentleman, squeezed into lycra, rode past me on an Eddy Merckx bike. i glanced up and nodded a hello. then, as he’d passed i had to look again, just to be sure…
but I wasn’t mistaken – it was Eddy Merckx.
not sure i can manage a threaded narrative right now but i’ve been surfing the old web today and have come across a few things that caught my eye – the advert for cheap plastic surgery in Vietnam and the all-natural viagra made from ‘authentic Nepalese rhino horn’ notwithstanding – the bulk of it was LanceGate related.
i’ll get to the rambling thoughts about the whole thing that came to me in a moment, but first i have to admit that although none of this has brought anything even remotely close to a smile to my weather-battered face (not battered for much longer though – see you in a week Ho Chi Minh…), there is a small corner of my being that is rejoicing – not an unbridled joy, there’s no galavanting in flowering meadows going on, but there is a sort of burnished copper glow buffed by a greasy dollop of satisfaction.
the whole argument about ‘what he did for the sport’ is now dead in a desolate car park in New Jersey, face down with a hole to the head, riven with rigor mortis…
Kim Andersen, sports director of RadioShack. i would ask ‘what drugs has he been on?’ but i already know. still employed at RadioShack, the guy who just today said that Bruyneel’s leaving the team was “probably the right decision” was, at various times of his career, on norephedrine, testosterone and amineptine.
the testosterone was ‘explained’ by the fact that, Andersen, like many a pro of his generation, just had a massive pair of swinging balls adept at churning out gallons of ManJuice. the other two are stimulants, so i dunno, maybe he was dull? a bit lethargic? Andersen tested positive between five and seven times in his career, and escaped a lifetime ban only because of bureaucratic incompetence.
“one can only hope that it’s over now, so we can move forward,” said the bulging-trousered Dane. let’s hope that that moving forward isn’t at unbelievable average speeds. here we are, October 2012, the sport is in tatters and yet still those with a doping past are firmly established as managers, sports directors and owners of professional cycling teams. this is not right.
LA. news coming in that he is ready to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence. i actually believe he would pass it, such is the power of his will. that guy has only one ball but I bet it’s even bigger than both of Kim’s put together. how the heck did these guys sit on the saddle?
Scott Mercier. a hitherto unknown 44 year old financial adviser living now in Colorado. he rode for US Postal and refused to dope. he walked away from the sport he loved and had to watch live on TV the inexorable rise of Lance. his story is worth a read – here’s an excerpt:
“Pedro called each member of the team into his hotel room, one by one. When my turn came, he handed me a bag containing a bottle of green pills and several vials of clear liquid. I was also given a 17-day training schedule and each day had either a dot or a star. A dot represented a pill and a star was an injection.
“He said ‘they’re steroids, you go strong like bull’. Then he said ‘put it in your pocket, if you get stopped at customs say it’s B vitamins’. That was when I decided I didn’t want to be a pro cyclist any more. I got home and decided ‘no thank you’.”
Matt White, Jonkers, Yates, Cavendish’s comment that ‘It’s not fair to say it’s a dirty sport’ when, well, i won’t even bother to finish that thought, Dowsett and ‘Lance is still a legend’, it’s like a journalist’s wet dream, a smorgasbord of endless content.
the real challenge now though is, what next? the levee has been breached. here we stand amongst the deluge. the question is, how do right the devastation?