we’ve only got ourselves to blame…

i'm just having a lie down...
i’m just having a lie down…

as a freelance journalist i’m often in touch with the editor’s and sub-editors of some of the world’s leading cycling magazines, a couple of whom have told me that they’ve had a significant increase on the cancellation of subscriptions – the reason? LanceGate. in January’s Cycle Sport magazine, one Kevin Gately of New Joyzey sent in a letter which explains the thinking behind his own decision to stop buying his once-beloved monthly magazine:

There are certain purposes for which sport needs certainty, even if only legal and artificial. One example is baseball, where the decision of the umpire is final and irreversible, even if wrong. Such conventions make competition possible.

Up until now, a first placed bike racer who passed the drug test was the winner, period. Fans were comfortable believing that the cheats would be found out and the results were still basically valid.

That’s ruined now. According to Cycle Sport, cycling is so totally ridden with corruption and high-tech doping that the results are meaningless and the drug tests are useless.Every rider who turns in an outstanding performance is just another likely doper who may someday be denounced and have all his results invalidated. What fun is that?

Thanks to Cycle Sport, USADA Tyler Hamilton and the rest, we now know “the truth,” and the truth has set me free. I am dropping my CS subscription , and will now be spending July taking a vacation.

crankpunk’s a little confused here. first off, baseball is not a sport, it’s a game where barrel-chested, man-size toddlers hit small balls every once in a while whilst others run after them, from time to time, in between commercial breaks. i’m constantly amazed anyone can get paid so much for standing on a lawn, chewing, spitting, scratching and very occasionally running a few feet. but what is Kevin saying here – he likes the arbitrary rule of a referee, even if it is wrong? so, by extension, he liked the fallacy of drug tests that didn’t actually work?

Kevin actually seem angrier at Cycle Sport and USADA (interesting that he throws Hamilton’s name in there too with ‘and the rest’, as though they’re all the same when nothing could be further from the truth) than he is at the dopers, more annoyed that the veil has been lifted from his eyes than the fact that it was placed there in the first place by Heinz, Lance, Tyler, society, western civilisation and the rest.

i could see his point if he were blaming the mass media for going along with the lies – ProCycling certainly never investigated to any real degree the extent of doping in the peloton, nor did others like CyclingNews.com – but Cycle Sport has a reputation for not flinching from the fight and even earned the opprobrium of Lance and his entourage a few years back when they dared to publish reports about his relationship with Ferrari.

but in all honesty even the casual cycling fan should have, must have heard the rumors. with some 20 of the 21 guys who stepped on the podium in Paris in July between 1999 and 2005 having been linked to dope, i’d suggest that you’d have to be somewhat of a fantasist – if not a plain old fool – to believe that the sport was cleaner than not and that the UCI’s testing policy was successful. yes the majority of the media ignored the rumblings, the UCI smiled its sickly sweet smile and said ‘we’re winning, la-de-dah!‘ and yes the LanceCrankinMachine pumped out tales of cancer, purity and saintliness and assassinated all challengers to The Lie – but, seriously?

what a mad, bad and downright sad situation we find ourselves in here. what we have now before us is so removed from the idea of sport as it exists in our minds, it’s almost like we’ve been suffering some sort of sporting anorexia. we saw the emaciated, stripped down, deathly pale bag of bones before us with its skin pulled taut, veins visible like lines on a map, its pulse feeble and erratic, and for so long we told ourselves as if it was a mantra that the sporting carcass we could so plainly see was in fact in perfect health, robust, young, vibrant and successful.

the buck starts and stops here. we can’t keep blaming everyone else. it was always thus Kevin, it was always sick, it had a needle in its vein from the off and a bag of HGH in a drip hanging off a picture hook above. ‘Here Lies Cycling’, ran the caption below the hotel bed.


Author: Lee Rodgers

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

2 thoughts

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