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Sprinters squeeze into tight spots, bang elbows and swear during a battle for victory. It is all part of the spectacle that makes a bunch gallop so fun to watch.
When victory is assured, as was Mark Cavendish’s on Stage 2 of the Tour of Romandie, by a perfect lead out, a sprinter has the time to take his hands off the bars and salute. He salutes the spectators, who love the sport, his team which delivered him to the line, his adversaries who suffered all day the same as him, his sponsors which pay him a great salary to pursue his passion, and he salutes himself for having the talent and tenacity to be the best that day.
By making an obscene gesture in victory, Cavendish has shamed our sport. He has shown immaturity, but worse than that, a lack of respect for all the suffering that his competitors and he himself has endured in this noble and humbling sport.
I was amazed to watch Vino come back from his doping suspension to overwhelm the field at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Judging from his performance, he looks like the rider of old. Problem is, the rider of old was doping to get his good performances. So, that makes me ask, how much advantage does one actually get from doping?
If it’s not all that much – if a rider can still win without the help, then why take the risk and dope at all? If it’s pretty substantial, then how do these guys come off suspension and pick back up where they left off? Are they still doping, but just being smarter?
We can’t forget the past, Vino’
I just wanted to say that I too am still a bit skeptical about how clean Alexander Vinokourov is riding. He never acknowledged any wrong doing when caught doing one of the more sneaky ways of cheating; never made any statements about rehabilitating himself and coming back with a new attitude (clearly his attitude has not changed at all!) nor has he done anything to promote clean racing.
Vino’ simply comes back and says, “I’m back, welcome me back as if I never left (or got caught cheating). I deserve it because I am Vino’.”
Come on, let’s be realistic Vino’! You got caught cheating and the least you can do is own up to it! Then we fans can begin cheering you the way we used to when we thought you were a clean rider with incredible talent not someone cheating your sponsors, team and most importantly us, the fans!
I for one still think you should have retired in disgrace (as should Tyler Hamilton before he returned and Floyd Landis who also never owned up to his dishonesty).
It seems that every week a new person is caught using performance enhancing drugs. Is everybody trying to cheat? Is there no honor or dignity in the sport? Why does everyone have to win, and then by artificial means? I want to think that the “suffering” and hard work are a product of the event itself. This is a problem in our society, but has deep roots in history.
Even ancient Greek athletes tried things to get an edge on their opponents. Is the need to win our “tragic flaw” as humans. Are we going to follow a path, as if it were devised in a play by Sophocles, to self destruction if victory is not achieved. No!
Cycling is a sport of beauty and endurance. What happened to “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat?” There is beauty and pathos in that drama and that is why I love the sport.
New York, New York
Dopers or no, I still love cycling
Integrity is reflected in doing the right thing when no one is looking. Cleary, riders who dope lack both personal and professional integrity. Forgiveness is good for the soul. However, forgiveness does not carry with it a requirement to accept.
I can acknowledge that someone has paid the penalty for cheating, but that does not mean I have to accept “fill in the name of whomever you like” back with open arms. Intent is also critical.
There is a difference between someone who unintentionally ingests banned substances and someone who intentionally cheats. A clear problem is the rampant lying that occurs regarding intentional acts. Finally, it is sad that we are seeing a string of younger riders getting caught.
Clearly the penalties are not stiff enough to deter those who lack integrity.
All this being said I do not let this undermine my enjoyment of the sport of cycling. I derive great pleasure from my daily rides regardless of who is doping in the pro ranks.
Explaining a molehill into a mountain
What a waste of bandwidth. Pelkey’s story about Kenny Williams and his desire to ride is a non-issue. He made a mistake. He admitted it. He should be allowed to race. I am sick of a bunch of whiners trying to cut the competition out of the field by looking for any lame excuse to keep a talented and committed rider out of a damn training race.
Sprinting through a loophole?
Thank you for your thorough analysis and exposure of what was thought to be a loophole and more importantly, USA Cycling’s lack of enforcement. I never understood why USA Cycling allowed Tyler Hamilton to participate in the National Road Championships while under investigation for his participation in Operación Puerto, even though he had served his suspension for a separate offense.
At the time, I asked USA Cycling leaders (I use that term loosely) what would happen if Hamilton wins the race and subsequently receives another sanction for the Spanish affair, while wearing the USA jersey. Their response was that he had served his suspension and they had no legal means to keep him from racing. My reply was that USA Cycling must go beyond what the lawyers tell them and demonstrate some leadership by taking a stance against Hamilton’s (and others) participation if we are to set an example to the younger riders.
As it turns out, Hamilton was caught again (not from the Spanish affair) and while wearing the national champion’s jersey. Fortunately, there is some hope in the fight against dopers in the leadership demonstrated by the cyclist lead boycott of Williams. Unfortunately, we have yet to see that same leadership in USA Cycling.
San Francisco, California