ulrich’s nutella, corporate hand washing and coming dirty

– erm… hello. we’re here for the party

– party?

– yes. a friend of ours is throwing a party tonight, on the lake. this is the party-yacht place isn’t it? only, i can’t see your boat, though i suppose we are a little early. the chap’s name is Ulrich…

– oh, Mr Ulrich! yes he did arrange for a boat for tonite originally but he turned up three days ago with ten dancing girls and a van-load of champagne. he said he couldn’t wait. if you look out there you’ll see the yacht’s lights, all a-twinkle… see? i suspect all his ‘guests’ are all a-twinkle too – one of them had a bag full of enough white stuff to put a dent in the supply chain of downtown Bogota. they’ve been at it three days. party of the year if you ask me!

crankpunk is in no way suggesting that our Mr. Ulrich is nostril deep in a bowl full of snow at this moment, but rather that he must be in a very good mood indeed. after all of those years in his dank little cabin in in the wilderness he’s now been joined by a houseful of old colleagues. Jan got all his apologies out of the way already though, the accusations of being an alcaholic  and the burnout illness and the Nutella habit (he was said by an ex-teammate to put whole Nutella jars in the microwave and then drink them like juice) are also now behind him. rumor has it that he’s soon to be unveiled as LA’s Dopers Not-So-Anonymous sponsor in the coming days. we’ll keep you posted…

one other thing that i find very curious is the way that some riders and journos are reacting with a kind of shock to all that’s been revealed, as though they had absolutely lalalalala tralalala oh look at the pretty flowers my head’s in the clouds and i can’t hear you lalalalala no idea that this kind of thing was taking place. didn’t they hear the numerous Lemond interviews over the years? Paul Kimmage banging on? Betsy? and even if they thought they were crackpots, didn’t the fact that just about every other rider in the top ten in the LA years got busted for dope make them even a little prepared?

are they really so blatantly covering their asses? or do they genuinely want to come across as fools?

then there’s the reaction to people like Hincapie and Leipheimer, Barry and Zabriskie ‘coming clean’. people kind of back-slapping them, as though they made a heroic decision. they never came clean, they came dirty, kicking and screaming and in denial and lying right up until the point that they had the gun to their heads and they were absolutely sure the barrel was full. Hincapie loved the sport so much that he had his swansong at the Tour this year even though he knew he’d admitted to doping. is that love? love for himself maybe. heck, Leipheimer had himself filmed in an “Aren’t I Marvelous?” movie even though he knew he’d testified to his own guilt.  those two, along with  Zabriskie and Vande Velde, when they were riding in the Tour this year, knowing what they knew, they might well have been dancing on the grave of the sport.

too dramatic? Rabobank just announced it is pulling out of cycling. Germany can’t stomach the sport in any real sense anymore. how many other sponsors and nations will follow suit? i hope none, because i love bike racing, but not like this. this is not my sport, it might be theirs, but it’s not mine. mine is like hundreds of thousands of others, millions, who train hard and dream and go out on a weekend to a race or do a short tour and bust their asses with a gel to get them by or maybe a sports drink, but would never dream of ‘enhancing their performance’ with banned substances.

what a polite term we’ve created for what is, in every sense, plain old cheating.

and then there’s Rabobank, Nike, Trek and all of those other huge corporate businesses that were happy to milk the crusty, heavily laden teats of these pros for all their were worth, despite at the very least being aware of the allegations swirling around these men and their teams. they took the coin when it suited them, and now that there is irrefutable evidence, and only now, have they washed their hands, and how glibly they do, with such a sanctimonious air.

‘oh, we are so, so terribly diasppointed in him, he used to be such a sweet boy…’

but like in every big bike company, many of Trek’s people were and are cyclists, racers, who follow the sport intently. some suspected, at the very least, they had to.

we always say ‘innocent til proven guilty’ but this was more of a fear of upsetting the apple cart. the golden goose may have been smelling a tad ripe but man, those eggs were good.

ah it just stinks, not just the goose, the whole damn farm. i’m gonna go have a beer.

this one’s for you, boys…

*i raced against Zabriskie at the Tour de Langkawi this year. he blew us away in the opening ITT, except for Adam Phelan of Drapac. Zab may or may not be clean now, but he doped in the past and never served his time, so for me all his results, like those of all the others, mean nothing. Adam was 2nd in that ITT – or i should say, first.

Author: Lee Rodgers

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

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