i don’t always write about dopers, honest. it’s just so much fun i can’t help it. i mean, who wouldn’t rather be writing about actual races? or clean riders doing well? nah, boring.
anyway, a friend of mine sent me a link to the NorCal Cycling News facebook page, on which there was a notice promoting an event set up by a local team called Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase. (which is on tonight, April 17th, by the way, so if you’re going, you better get going!)
the event? an ‘intimate and candid evening’ at the Ian Ross Gallery in San Francisco with – wait for it – Tyler Hamilton.
100 guests at $100 a pop, so that’s $10,000 smackeroonies, all of which, Mike’s Bikes tells us, will go “to support the road racing efforts of Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase.”
Mike’s Bikes tell us a little more about exactly what will transpire over the evening:
“We all love the sport but wonder what’s next for the future of amateur and professional racers, especially considering the trials our sport has gone through in recent years. Tyler will discuss all of this and more on April 17th.”
isn’t that nice? so, to reiterate, just for the dumb amongst us (me included, cos i still don’t get this) – one of the guys who is a rather famous part of the very large problem that is kind of buggering our sport every which way is going to give up some of his time to go to talk about what’s next for the future for amateur and professional racers.
the same guy who has a book out and who got caught once for doping then went away then came back and caught again, is going to give a talk about the future of our sport. an intimate, candid talk.
where do i start on this? seriously, i’m sat here watching La Fleche and wondering how to start saying how wrong this is, because it is wrong in so many ways.
ok, first of all, the problem with ex-dopers telling people how terrible it all was and what a huge mistake they made.
it might seem, on first thoughts, like ‘ok, let him talk to the young kids and tell them about how it ruined his live etc.‘
but the fact is that by them standing up there, with their notoriety and still enduring fame, it doesn’t seem so ruined. i mean yeah, most right-thinking people think of them as cheats but at the end of the day they still had a pretty awesome time, these guys rode the greatest races on earth and were for a good chunk of time real, serious heroes to millions – millions – and most still live in nice houses and drive good cars and have their books out and their supporters still (see Leipheimer’s local newspaper around the time his doping past came out, and you’ll see what i mean. oh yeah, and that movie!)
so how bad was it all really? they took others’ jobs, they shunned those who didn’t dope, they influenced other riders to dope – in fact, they demonstrated to anyone in the peloton that if they wanted to be up with them they had to dope.
sure, the sport let itself down too, thanks to putting its faith in the UCI, and the managers, the coaches, even the race organisers, but these guys have to – no, had to – take responsibility, just as several other, equally good (or almost as good) clean cyclists did.
i’m not buying it, the regret thing. sure you feel bad, but man what a ride you had. and you know what? for all the supposed ‘good’ they do talking about how doping ‘ruined’ their lives, it would be far more productive if they went away and stayed away, if they extricated themselves from the entire cycling world. sure, they love the sport still, or the fame, the spotlight, but their very presence is poisonous.
they should be shunned if they do try to nose back in, but if they have any respect left for the sport they proclaim to love, they would be best to choose to stay away. that would be a better lesson for young riders, to see them completely cast out. i know that may sound hard to some, but if it’s forgiveness they need, go get it from family and close friends, not from young, impressionable athletes who still are in awe of what you did.
go away, heal yourselves, come back and have a beer sometime, but do not feel like you have a right to be in anyway involved with the sport you let down so very badly. maybe if one of these guys had come clean before they got busted, maybe then it would be worth listening to them.
can anyone tell me why you have to have decided to dope, got on a good team, got rich, bought a big house or two, ridden in the Tour and the Giro and Paris-Roubaix, then got busted for doping to be qualified to tell others about the dangers of doping?
is this a Kafka novel? or is the entire world of cycling on a collective and very nasty acid flashback? i mean, seriously, what the f**k?
how about we try this, ‘An Evening with Nicole Cook’? or Cedric Bassons? or Inga Thompson?
why do the ex-dopers get to talk about the perils of dope, whereas those who are clean can’t, because it’s as though people feel like they’re pointing a finger, as though they are saying ‘hey i’m clean, he’s dirty.’ even though that is the exact damned case? how about an evening with the pros i know, guys who rode for very good teams, had decent careers but never won anything big, but rode hard through the EPO years and stayed clean?
surely it would be better for youngsters to hear from clean pros, who can say ‘yes there is doping, but you can do it cleam, and here is how i did it.’
not too sexy though, huh, an evening with ‘The Guy You Never Heard Of But Who Did It Right, But… Never Got Rich.. & Has No Book Out. ‘
tickets, $1.00. or, wait – we’ll pay you to come…
(we’re still lacking a coherent voice from the clean guys in the pro peloton now. we need that. the kids need that.)
and so, here is Mike’s Bikes, profiting from an ex-doper. if i was on a rival team and saw them this year at a race – well, how would you feel? they’re picking up $10,000 from Hamilton showing up and doing his ‘it was terrible’ speech, and he gets the KarmaCleanse out of it.
you know what this society of ours rewards? hard work and dedication? if you’re lucky, maybe. intelligence? hell no. what it seems to reward, in spades, is cheating. not low-level criminal stuff, heck, that gets you three strikes and a life in prison.
the thing with cheating is that the bigger you cheat, the more you are rewarded. we saw that with the banks. too big to burn. same with Wall Street. and we see that with the sports cheats too.
LA was the prime example, the guy went big and got rich, huge rich. he may lose it all but maybe not, but anyway, with a book deal and a movie, bada-bing, he’s back up to $40 million easy.
Hamilton? cheated once, got canned but made a legend of himself at the Tour. then got a contract with that ‘sexy’ team, Rock Racing, hired there because he was a doper. they didn’t hire guys who could prove they were clean – just the ones who proved they were dirty…
then the tears, the confession, and i truly do sympathise with his mental illness, but here’s the thing – go get healed somewhere else. you are done here, brother. you cashed your chips, lost a little, won a little, but this is not the horse you should be getting back up on.
thirdly, Nor Cal Cycling News. they publish this as just news, no comments, no thoughts, no nothing. great journalism. really.
man. to be an ex-doper who won stuff. not such a bad gig…
*apologies, for some reason cannot add photos, will try later*