Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Chronic Doping Scandal Fatigue

-

Chronic Doping Scandal Fatigue

I have chronic-doping-scandal-fatigue.

We always knew that Lance Armstrong literally had a never-say-die attitude. Perhaps in recent days this fact has become more abundantly clear even than when he was actually on his deathbed.

He’s had a lawsuit chucked out of court within a few hours of submitting it because it was so terrible; it was for a restraining order against the US anti-doping agency. It was 80 pages long and contained “improper argument, rhetoric, [and] irrelevant material”, not my words, the judge’s.

Lance Armstrong just got benchslapped.

It also contained 3 different spellings of the name “Jeff Novitzky” and mentioned Armstrong’s swimming results when aged 12 as part of the evidence, he is allowed to re-file again though, which he’ll probably do on Wednesday.

Even his lawyer has said that he is going to lose. If that is a never say die attitude I don’t know what is.

It gives a real insight into the distraction-free bubble in which professional athletes must necessarily live in in order to thrive, Armstrong may have retired but he never left the damn thing and it’s all going wrong.

Fighting for your life is one thing; it’s unquestionably admirable and always worthwhile. Fighting for your reputation when it appears to be built on lies, well, sometimes it’s best to just lie down, roll over, die gracefully and start again.

I would still forgive him.

Chronic Doping Scandal Fatigue
Cofidis rider Remy Di Gregorio of France leaves the courthouse of Marseille.

I’m not finished yet – as if by magic this morning there is another doping story, a young rider called Remi di Gregorio.

He was on Astana last year, now with Cofidis, details are fuzzy but the timing is perfect.

The Gendarmes came to arrest him on the first rest day of the tour.

These things work like clockwork. Apparently he tried to buy drugs and he was working alone. Yeah right.

We’ve also just found out that the USADA has banned Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral (cycling team doctor), Dr. Michele Ferrari (cycling team consulting doctor) and Jose “Pepe” Martí (cycling team trainer) and that it turns out that there really was a doping conspiracy at US Postal all those years ago. Who knew?

Coming up on Friday will be the announcement of sentences (or not) for the 32 riders in the Mantova investigation. One of them was my team mate last year.

Chronic Doping Scandal Fatigue
Bradley has taken some heat for his tone and language.

We’ve all heard about both Wiggin’s outbursts and exploits in recent days, it’s been a significant long weekend for British Cycling. Wiggin’s comments come from within his bubble, his team was compared to USPS and suddenly the outside world interacted with him and he got all angry.

It’s fair enough, I can forgive him for that and I can forgive him for not even answering the question, he needs his bubble intact if he’s going to win this thing. Anyway, I have come to realise that I have become one of the eternally negative people to which he refers in that colourful language of his and I have been for quite some time.

I’m not bone-idle or lazy though, I’m just chronically fatigued with many years of doping stories. The thing is Wiggins is chronically-dope-scandal-fatigued too, that’s why he went nuts at the brave little reporter.

All around the country riders at tea stops are having conversations about Sky, their clean attitude, their marginal gains, Dave Brailsford, British cycling and so on. They are busy convincing themselves that they are clean, I hope they’re right.

I want to do that too but I can’t, I just find myself thinking of all the conversations in 1999 happening in the bike clubs in America, about how Armstrong could never have doped because he had cancer and besides “no one would dope after Festina last year”, compelling stuff, more compelling than marginal gains, anyway.

I know it’s wrong to make this comparison just as it was deliberate bear baiting comparing Sky to US Postal in front of Wiggins. It can’t be helped though, not for me, it’s how my brain works now.

Chronic Doping Scandal Fatigue
It’s clear that for a certain type of rider having a very strong team is vital to winning the general classification.

I am unable to believe in miracles and although I want to, I am stuck on the fence, incapable of supporting Wiggins or any other professional cyclist for that matter, this isn’t personal.

The best I can do for them is to try hard not to incriminate them too much either, the fence is the fairest place to be. I wrote about it in 2010 when the Contador positive came out: my view hasn’t changed an awful lot since then, and nor has Contador’s, he will be racing again in less than a month.

I’m quite happy not getting emotionally sucked in to supporting riders these days, it makes you appreciate close racing on a whole different level.

So in conclusion don’t vilify me for not getting behind Brad and Britain, I’m too tired.

I just want to watch the tour as a neutral and pretend everything is OK, same for the Olympics, that way I can’t be hurt (again).

Related Articles

Here’s to 2013!

‘Barredo retires in light of biological passport violations case,’ says the CyclingNews headline. ‘So what, all them Spaniards are dodgy,’ we hear you say. But let’s go back two years. We're standing in the low cloud and cold drizzle of an Asturian afternoon. We’re high above the cave where Pelagius and his men had the vision of the Virgin the night before the battle; past the unmarked graves where the dead still lay on the mountain side and even higher above the twin Lagos of Enol and Ercina which give this strip of rough tarmac its name. We’re very near to the finish of one of the most evocative stage finishes in the Vuelta – Lagos de Covadonga.

The VV View: Contract Negotiations and Grand Tour Podiums

I was coming down the 'parachutes' in the Transit on Friday - the old East 25 course - when I got the text message from Dave; 'Garcia and Hesjedal away with two K to go.' I was talking to Ryder only last night-about his great ride on stage 9, when he was second to Simon Gerrans; then the next text came in; 'Your man has won!'

The VV View: We’re Disappointed in You, Gabriele Bosisio

"Our pal Bosisio positive,' said the text from Dave. Gabriele Bosisio of LPR Brakes and Italy was the subject of a UCI out of competition test; "the adverse finding was a direct result of a targeted urine test, conducted immediately after a blood test triggered an unusual blood profile within the biological passport program," said their statement.

The VV View: The IAAF Mess, Rio Road Team Selections, Jacub Marezcko, and more!

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: Ryder Hesjedal, Can We Handle the Truth?

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.

Eddie Dunbar joins Team Sky

Team Sky are delighted to announce the immediate signing of Eddie Dunbar. Dunbar, who is set to make his Team Sky debut on Saturday at Coppa Agostoni, has agreed a deal to the end of the 2019 season. The Irishman, 22, was contracted to Aqua Blue Sport for the 2018 season, but – following the closure of the team – Aqua Blue and the UCI have granted Dunbar permission to leave his contract early and sign for Team Sky.

At Random

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 21: Riese Pio X – Brescia 197km. Vincenzo Nibali, la fine meraviglioso

The roofs outside our hotel window were steaming in the morning sun when we opened the shutters on Sunday morning. Much as we felt we'd been part of something special on Saturday in the blizzard on the Tre Cime - it was nice to see a clear blue sky and feel the warmth of the sun on our skin. The Hotel Trieste is well up the 'Fawlty Towers' rankings; it was built by the old patron's grandfather - and hasn't been painted since - hot water was at a premium and outside our room, the place was freezing. But the beds were clean, the room was cosy and the wi-fi was A1.

The VV View: On Inconsistent Attitudes

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...

Richard Davison – “Personalised coaching employing genomics is the coming thing”

It’s not often we have a professor in the pages of VeloVeritas but that’s exactly what Richard Davison is; as well as Assistant Dean (International) at the University of the West Coast of Scotland. He was also instrumental in the setting up of British Cycling’s current coaching system and does ‘one on one’ coaching with riders. Richard was also a successful rider on the Scottish scene a year or two back – and that’s where our interview starts...

“A Peiper’s Tale” by Allan Peiper

This book, Allan Peiper's story, is a little different from the usual sports biography: it's clear that Allan is a sensitive, thoughtful, somewhat spiritual bloke, who spends a lot of time trying to get through life in the best way possible, whilst looking after others (he's currently working as a Team Director for the Lotto - Davitamon Pro cycling team), and usually putting himself further down his priority list than most other folk would.

Pierrot de Wit – Bradley Wiggins’ and Eddy Merckx’s Soigneur

If you look at those sharp black and white cycling pictures from the 70’s and 80’s on social media, beside or behind the featured star rider there’s often an uncredited figure – as likely as not that’ll be the rider’s soigneur. And in the case of some of the biggest stars of the eras from Eddy Merckx to Bradley Wiggins that soigneur is liable to be the gentleman we’re about to present to you; Mr. Pierrot de Wit from Brussels.

Harry Tanfield – A Strong Start to the Season

It was 2013 when Harry Tanfield (Pedal Heaven) first came into our sights, winning the Dave Campbell Memorial Road Race in the Kingdom of Fife. We ran a full interview with him 2014 when our man with his finger on the Flemish pulse, Viktor noted that young Mr. Tanfield had been ‘doing the biz’ in the kermises. And it’s time for another chat with the 21 year-old from Middlesbrough after he repeated his 2013 Dave Campbell victory on the tough roads of Central Fife at the weekend. We caught up with him the day after his win.