In Response… If you write, one of the most satisfying things is when someone takes the time to tell you that they’ve enjoyed something you’ve written.
On the other hand, if you stick your head above the parapet and say what you think – and don’t inhabit the twilight world of aliases in forums or Twitter – then it’s inevitable that someone will take a ‘pop’ at you.
Generally we don’t get involved in email ‘ping pong,’ much as we appreciate anyone reading our site and taking the time to write to us.
However, once in a while a communication comes in which we think we should answer fully – perhaps other readers are thinking along similar lines, but don’t have the time or inclination to write to us.
In my recent piece about ‘Lancegate’, I stated that the true subterfuge of what was going on with Lance Armstrong was most easily read at the 2010 Tour.
Our disgruntled reader seizes on this:
“Seriously, you didn’t know until 2010?
“A good chunk of the USADA case is about allegations that have been about since at least ’05.
“In order to ignore those allegations you must have willingly dismissed the words of Betsy Andreu and Emma O’Reilly and other non-rider, non-dopers.
“You must have dismissed the WADA report in ’05 on Lance’s ’04 EPO positives from the ’99 samples.
“You must have known all these, being a reporter in the sport, yet you ignored or dismissed them out of hand – choosing to believe Lance’s word over many others.”
Being ‘in the trade’ we hear a lot of things, like the two super stars who had to ‘rest’ (at the request of the UCi) a year or two ago whilst their blood went ‘off the boil.’
Or the British (+) where we heard from the top that the test result had been hushed up.
In the first instance we couldn’t go to print because the sponsors were massive and would have sued us.
And in the second case we did go to print but had to ‘pull’ the piece because of threats of legal action.
In neither case did we have proof – good contacts, but no evidence.
If you look at how long Usada has been after Lance and how much money it has cost – and bear in mind that the Sunday Times lost against Lance in a court of law – then I think you’re being a wee bit severe with us.
The two ladies you mention have indeed been courageous – but look how long it has taken for their statements to be corroborated.
We’re a small, Scottish website – not CyclingNews or Usada.
“Let’s be honest, you have been wilfully blind.
“You were one of the journalists who helped build up the myth of Lance.
“You were one of the journalists who helped him to spread his lies.”
You can trawl any site I’ve written for and you’ll find no ‘pagan idolatry’ of Lance Armstrong from me.
I hated the bodyguards, the use of the cancer foundation as a shield when it suited him and the celebrity cycling culture he spawned – it’s the people’s sport.
“Hell, even as recently as last month, you were casting aspersions on the evidence against him in articles here!”
What I said last month was that I did not think that the rush to nail Lance was necessarily good for the sport – I stand by that.
I also said that I felt it was becoming politically incorrect to say anything to balance the lynch mob mentality which was, and is, in effect.
At the time I wrote the piece, the evidence had not been revealed and now that it has, there’s little which surprises me.
“You’re human and you were hoodwinked.
“To some extent, you’re also a victim.
“A victim of the corruption of the sport you love by the powerful in it, from its senior officials to senior team staff and its star riders.
“You can still easily redeem yourself, you can review things critically – as this piece seems to be about.”
Again, I feel you’re not being fair to us; yes, it’s great that we can get interviews with Ryder Hesjedal and that the Liquigas PR man gives us Peter Sagan’s bike to play with, but we’re about more than that.
We report most Scottish time trial championships and if we can’t attend then we try to interview the winner.
We interview up and coming riders before most other folk – Google Joe Dombrowski and you’ll see what we mean.
And we do our best to spotlight great riders from the past who we feel perhaps did not get the attention they deserve – Colin Sturgess, Mike McCarthy and Paul McHugh have all featured on our pages, recently.
“However, then you go ruin it all, by casting aspersions on the evidence against Contador, with misinformed misdirections:
”’And no one is that interested in Argentinean beef imports to Spain.’
“As you surely must know, the steak theory advanced by Contador is highly implausible, and pretty discredited by the hearings at which it was presented, including the CAS hearing (whose finding was actually fairly favourable to Contador).
“If you don’t know, then you’re being wilfully blind again.”
When I quoted myself, I was actually poking fun at my own harping on about old Bert and his steak.
Although I would point out that the investigating panel did state that he probably ingested the clenbuterol from a contaminated supplement.
“Basically, you go write a long piece about the lessons to draw from the Lance saga, including for journalists like yourself.
“Then you demonstrate that actually you haven’t learned anything at all.
“You are still far too eager to side with the star riders, to ignore evidence, worse to distort that evidence.
“You still are very prone to being caught in rapture of the riders.”
What I’ve learned is that nice guys take drugs, unpleasant star riders take drugs, evidence is only evidence if you can corroborate it and that many people who blessed the ground which Lance Armstrong walked on are now vilifying him.
And if I’m prone to be in rapture of riders like Contador, Boonen, Hesjedal, Cummings and all the rest who have made it a great season, then it’s just my child-like love of cycling showing through.
When I lose that, I’ll stop writing about it.
“These things can be excused from random Joes giving opinions on the internet.
“However, not from anyone who wishes themselves to be considered a serious journalist.”
I’ve followed 17 Grand Tours as an accredited journalist – Giro, Tour and Vuelta – and God knows how many as a fan; all of the Monuments; many of the other classics and semi-classics; World Track Championships and dozens of Six Day races.
And I’ve lost count of how many interviews I’ve done.
I might not fall in line with your definition of ‘serious’ – but I try my best.