cyclingnews & the fall of God

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…

Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

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