Tag Archive for ‘Doping’
The VV View: To Team Sky; “if in hole, stop digging” (Comments Off)
It’s that time again when I go from being that old weirdo who’s always going to bike races no one has heard of to the ‘go to guy’ (I do hate that expression) – yeah, you’ve guessed; ‘Brailsford, corticosteroids, package, Sky, Wiggo’…
I’ve lived through all the doping scandals; Festina, Riis, Pantani, Lance, Tyler, Floyd and the fact is that just like that 1976 disco classic by Bugatti and Musker contends, ‘Ain’t no Smoke Without Fire.’ The pattern is always the same, revelation, vehement denial, steady drip of more damning facts and finally there’s a tearful confession or a ‘guilty’ verdict.
Can you remember one ‘doping scandal’ which ended with vindication and media apologies? Me neither.
John Nicolson MP – Background to the Parliamentary Select Committee Hearing; “I found some of the answers unconvincing.” (Comments Off)
If you watched the recent live stream of the Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing (part of the inquiry into “Combatting Doping in Sport”) you’ll know the bulk of the session focused on the key question “what was in the jiffy bag?” which was transported from the UK by Simon Cope, handed to Dr. Richard Freeman at the end of the Critérium du Dauphiné, for use by Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Committee member John Nicolson (Member of Parliament for East Dunbartonshire and the SNP spokesperson on Culture, Media and Sport) demonstrated an amazing ability to ask logical, ‘boiled-down’ questions which presented a narrow set of options as answers, and we felt it would be interesting to hear from John about the operation of the Select Committee and his thoughts on what he heard from the cycling top brass, so we grabbed some of his time during Parliament’s Christmas break.
“A Team Sky spokesman said they remained fully behind their team principal (Sir David) despite the claims in the Daily Mail and his admission to the select committee on Monday that he had made mistakes.”
If you’re a soccer aficionado you’ll know that if Sky was a football team Sir Dave would be out by Tuesday after a message of support like that from the Board. But word is that if Dave goes then Sky pulls the plug.
And by the way, did you see Sir Brad’s ‘coming out’ as a Scotsman on Instagram, complete with ‘Braveheart’ face paint?
The VV View: Snakes and Ladders (Comments Off)
Snakes and Ladders; Let’s be positive and start with the guys on the way up; 17 year-old Englishman Thomas Pidcock for instance, who won the European Junior Cyclo-Cross Championship in France recently. He’s now one of the favourites for the Worlds in Luxembourg come late January; he was fifth in the Worlds last year and is a year wiser and stronger.
But if there are ladders then there are snakes, too. It’s over Matt Goss; he won a World Team Pursuit Title, Grand Tour Stages, a Worlds Elite Road race Silver, Plouay and – The Primavera. That last result means he’s a Legend.
‘Why do you rant about cycling?’ they ask us. ‘Because someone has to!’ we reply. There has to be a voice in the wilderness …
Did you watch the Worlds? Dave, Ivan and Vik all boycotted it – although they admitted to watching the finale. The Belgian offensive in the desert would have done Field Marshal Erwin Rommel proud – but apart from that and Sagan’s killer finale the race was processional.
Sometimes it’s strange how something you’ve never heard of in your life until recently starts coming at you from different directions – I was discussing a mutual acquaintance’s drugs problems with a friend when he mentioned ‘Tramadol’ – my ears pricked up…
The VV View: Sky, Wiggins and the TUE Grey Area (Comments Off)
TUE’s – once again I’m reminded of Elton John’s words; ‘and all this science I don’t understand…’
The forums are ablaze with righteous indignation from carpet fitters and bike shop mechanics, all of whom are well versed in conditions which affect an athlete’s breathing and the treatment of any ailments related thereto.
Me? I’m a glazier originally and I can’t remember Prednisolone ever cropping up once during my ‘apprenticeship.’
Lizzie Armitstead’s (Three) Two Strikes for Missed Tests (Comments Off)
“She’s at it, they all are! And you know she’s at it!” The reaction of a friend of mine when I explained the basics of the Lizzie Armistead case to him – he’s no right-wing balm pot, on the contrary he’s a working class former international sportsman who’s represented Scotland at the highest level.
Perhaps if it hadn’t been for Lance feeling sorry for the doubters; Tyler and his phantom twin; Floyd and all that Jack Daniels; Bert and his steak and all the rest he wouldn’t feel that way?
We make no apology for more ranting – there’s much to get upset about in the sports firmament at the minute. It’s hard to believe that the public would be so naive as to believe that Athletics would be squeaky clean given the sums of money washing around and the vested interests of the massive sportswear companies who depend on big results from their sponsored athletes to shift their sweat shop trainers, track suits, sweats and Tee’s.
The VV View: On Inconsistent Attitudes (Comments Off)
You have to be in the right frame of mind to rant – unless you’re a Master, like Vik – VeloVeritas’s cycling sage and soothsayer, Vik can waken up ranting and probably rants in his sleep.
I can’t do it to order – but the stars have aligned this morning and there’s a lot to get off my chest…
The splendidly named ‘Bugatti and Musker’ released a disco classic in 1976; ‘Ain’t no Smoke Without Fire,’ it’s about a guy who’s worrying that his girl is straying. ‘Please don’t do nothin’ to make me ashamed of you . . . when I heard the news it broke me in two…
But it could just as well have been written about cycling’s problems. If you love the sport, really love it – not just the ‘Glam Gigs’ as Viktor would call the Grand Tours and Flanders Classics then the doping sagas break your heart.
Or maybe I’m a sad old fool?
Back in December in our year end rant we mentioned the fact that there seemed to be one law for ‘genial Aussies’ and another for ‘dodgy Spaniards.’
What we said was: “And whilst Contador’s ‘contaminated beef’ defence was largely scorned, the mood surrounding Michael Rogers’ positive for Clenbuterol seems to be; ‘poor old Mick’ – with Matt White telling us that the UCI should sort out the Chinese meat industry.”
I can remember perfectly where I was when Marco Pantani died; sitting in my living room in Dysart. The flash came over Eurosport News and I rang Viktor to tell him; ‘hardly surprising’ was the reply. I knew what he meant, the little Italian’s life had been on a self destructive spiral for a some time – rehab or disaster were the only two possible destinations.
It was the Spartan philosophers who first coined the expression, ‘never speak ill of the dead.’ And whilst it’s always dreadfully sad to see a young life wasted, I’m puzzled by the current revisionist accounts of his life which are doing the rounds on the 10th anniversary of his death.
In the film, ‘A Few Good Men’ Tom Cruise’s military lawyer character is cross examining Jack Nicholson as a high ranking officer; ‘I want the truth!’ says Cruise. Jack’s reply has now entered movie folklore and cliché; ‘You can’t handle the truth!’
He got that one right, I can’t handle the truth – whilst I’m well aware that most of the peloton was kitted up for two decades and that it’s indefensible, I can’t see how yet another biopsy is going to change anything.
You may think that I keep abreast of all the forums and Twitter feeds which bang out the latest kitting gossip – usually behind half baked aliases – but I don’t. I’d much rather talk to Michael Nicholson about how he’s doing in Belgium or Doug Dewey about his new team in France. Call me a naïve old fool but I love the sport and still think that at it’s best it’s beautiful and incomparable. Somehow Matt DeCanio and his ‘Stolen Underground’ website had passed me by. It was my amigo Callum McGregor who drew my attention to Mr DeCanio’s stream of consciousness anti-doping rants.
What immediately knocked my eyes out was that the man was using very plain language to name Lance, Tyler and Floyd as being,’hard at it’ – open knowledge now, but DeCanio was saying these things some eight years ago.
On the one hand we don’t think that disinterring the dead is the way forward; the French Senate mass exhumation was a pointless exercise as far as we’re concerned. But once you have a Zabelombie walking the streets you have deal with it.
As I recall from George A. Romero’s classic ’78 movie – ‘Zombies, Dawn of the Dead’ you have to part the head from the body, shoot it in the head or at last poke a long screw driver through the ‘lug-hole’ (messy). But do we see a rush from the UCI to comment on the latest gore fest and efforts to contain the virus – originally returned on a space probe from Venus, if I remember correctly?
Or was it a laboratory in California?