Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Floyd the barber

Floyd has been busy again this week. Quitting cycling and then calling for legalized, controlled doping as he seems to think cycling will never be clean, ever. We here at the Wagon like our riders to be racing sober and like our orange juice: free from artificial enhancements. We all know the Floyd story, and his protestations of innocence for years afterwards, which quite rightly has left him with "zero credibility". But we also know that Floyd was a pro cyclist from '99-'06, including being on the same squad as Armstrong. So he knows the finer details of doping, how it gets done and who did it. So why are we not to believe him? He might well be bitter but then he has the right to, if he is telling the truth about Armstrong. Whose yellow bands do we wear? That's right, they don't have any Landis wordplay on them, do they? We'd be pissed if we got caught doing something once that someone else did 7 times consecutively and was almost beatified along the way.

Stronger than Landis' allegations is the confession of another former pro, Bernard Kohl.He himself was caught after finishing 3rd in the 2008 Tdf, and has since quit professional cycling. Hearing him talk with honesty and without malice, it seems we should be very worried about the professional peloton, even now. Kohl admitted he was doping and passing the drug testing controls, this isn't shocking but it is disappointing that cheats cannot be caught and punished. Kohl claimed that the TDF "wasn't winnable without doping" and that he passed "99 out of 100" drugs tests before getting caught. Now that does sober us up. We've been trying to think about ways to beat doping in cycling, and this is our best pitch:

Why doesn't the UCI have a doping amnesty for riders willing to admit to doping? Not just an amnesty, but set up a prize fund too, for information leading to prosecutions and imprisonments for those who facilitate the dirty deeds. In terms of an amnesty we'd like to see riders coming clean, and with that would come no ban providing they signed some form of contract promising never to dope again. If they did dope again (detected by more rigorous hair, blood and urine testing as per the just signed contract) then a lifetime ban from racing and a lifetime ban from being involved in the professional organisation of the sport in any way. We'd like to see public floggings too, but we won't. If doping is as endemic as it seems, this could seriously help restore faith public faith in racing once again. Not only public, but faith from those people like us who love the sport and pay our monies to watch the racing and wear the jerseys of our heroes. This would give our heroes the chance to clean up the sport once and for all. We only this weeks have had more suspicions aroused by a DS referring a rider to a doctor with links to doping (who also worked for the US Postal team, LA era.

Going back to Armstrong. Again, it is well documented about how people have tried taking him to court in the past and how thus far he has always managed to come out intact, but mainly through out of court settlements binding the none Armstrong legal team from commenting on anything regarding the case , which doesn't do much in allaying suspicions of Armstrong guilt, and if anyone has the money and legal team to win court cases, it is Armstrong (and of course OJ Simpson)

Currently we await the outcome of Contrador's sanctioning by the Spanish Cycling Federation. We acknowledge the traces of clenbuterol were incredibly minute, but what about the reports of plasticizers, possibly from blood transfusions, being present too? You also probably know there isn't yet an approved test for these things, but now there are samples of the blood and urine in a lab somewhere so when the test is approved then guilt or not may be proven. But they we have another pitfall of loving cycle racing. We cheer the winners and respect their achievements only to be slapped in the face months or years down the line when the cheating is discovered. Anger, frustration, and maybe disbelief but not any longer. Its coming to be expected. If Armstrong and Alberto are proven as doping cheats, that leaves us with possibility that 9 out of the last 11 tours having been 'won' by riders using illegal substances. Maybe its time to listen to Floyd just one more time?

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