Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 37 Posts

·
always right sometimes
Joined
·
1,832 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is an interesting article from pro cyclist Ted King:

By Ted King

After what might be its roughest off-season ever, pro racing is changing for the better

A cycling catalog arrived in the mail yesterday, and as I was flipping through its glossy pages I happened to stop at the clothing section—in *particular, at the undershirts. I was reminded of the time, a while ago, when a friend who worked in the bicycle industry hunched closer to me then peered around cautiously before claiming in a hushed voice, “It’s cycling’s worst-kept secret that ________ uses our baselayer. He’s not even sponsored by us!”

With my mind now distracted from the eye candy splayed across the pages in front of me, my thoughts wandered to a similar incident, when an insider told me that at a certain three-week race in France, a team had used his wheels instead of those made by the sponsor, applying stickers to the rims to appear compliant. This was also, according to that friend, the worst-kept secret in cycling.

These days, of course, every one of us knows what the worst-kept secret really was.

I always think of the off-season as the Two Months of Christmas. Free from the demands of racing and training, I can enjoy the seasonal beers that crowd the shelves. I hear of new teammates who will be joining my squad. When I find out I’ll be *outfitted by this or that new sponsor in the coming year, I feel like a giddy six-year-old on December 24th. This off-season was one drenched with negativity. Teams folded, sponsors throughout the sport pulled the plug, and it seemed as if almost every week headlines broke of yet another allegation or doping confession.

Yet my love for the sport never wavered. Maybe it’s because I was focused less on cycling’s worst-kept secret than its best-kept one: Professional racing is changing for the better.

I know you’ve heard this before, whether you’re a longtime fan who lived through the Festina scandal in 1998 or a more recent follower grappling with the complexities of an era in which legal action—from Italy to America—seems more effective than any amount of scientific drug testing. You’ve heard that cycling is cleaning up for real this time, that the testing is better than ever, that there’s no way we would risk our health. “No one really knows,” you might say, and in some sense, I agree with you.

Beginning with Bernhard Kohl’s now-famous proclamation that he passed half of his 200 tests with drugs in his body, we have seen that the tests remain beatable. And in the absence of a groundbreaking change regarding the penalties and punishments for positive tests, I don’t think the risk-versus-reward *ratio is currently a strong enough deterrent. Finally, of course, as opposed to guilt there is no foolproof way to confirm innocence. So I understand that when I tell you that cycling is not just cleaner but is undergoing a massive ethical change, whether you agree with me or not comes down to whether you trust me—and that, as a group, we professional racers have made that tough.

But I believe that the newest generation of riders is different.

In some ways, professional cycling has always had an appearance of openness to the public: To an extent unlike that of any other major sport on the planet, we do almost all of our training on open, public roads, and we race through a sea of people who are a mere arm’s reach from the action. That’s still true, but my generation of cyclists is embracing the idea of transparency to a degree that’s unprecedented. Our affinity for social media means that you know where most of us are, who we’re with, and what we’re doing not just on a daily basis, but sometimes by the minute, and nearly instantaneously. We’re also speaking out more frequently and loudly:* Rather than being silenced by an unwritten omerta as was the case in previous eras, the voices of discontent with doping, which once were no more than ripples that quietly ebbed outward from the peloton, have grown into swells of ever-increasing size.

I didn’t ride through the previous era of pro cycling. I don’t think it’s possible to *compare a past I never experienced with the way I am living in the present. I and other riders around my age might never completely understand the context those riders lived in—but we are witnessing, right now and firsthand, the consequences. We have seen how the choices that those other riders made are turning out to have ramifications far greater than a temporary suspension from the sport—effects that extend beyond the realm of athletics into life, livelihood, and family.

All of these factors are helping us forge a cleaner sport. (I don’t imagine any major professional sport could ever be absolutely clean.) While I can say that I believe with 99.9 percent certainty that the majority of my friends in pro cycling are clean, there is only one person I know with 100 percent conviction to be that way: myself. That’s okay. I think of this as “drop-in-the-bucket advocacy.” I know where I stand on cheating—an emphatic no—and all I can do is trust that hundreds of riders around me with the same perspective will collectively fill the bucket until there is almost no room in the sport for the idea of doping.

All I can really ask of you is the same—that you do what you can, in your own way, to fill the bucket.


See all the Bicycling.com blogs.
 

·
Bone idle wanker
Joined
·
742 Posts
I will reserve judgement on this until testing is removed from the UCI, and given to an independent body, when fat Pat and Heinous Verdruggem are gone, when power files and blood profiles are public, and when the Riises, Bruyneels, Ibarguens, etc. are driven out of the sport. Until then, it is just "that's all behind us, and now it is a clean sport" talking points, no matter who is the messenger.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Addict07

·
Make America grope again
Joined
·
4,754 Posts
^^this.

If I had a kid, I wouldn't let them go into cycling.

I think there are teams and riders who are commuted to being clean. But I still think there is a huge mentality that doping is a necessary evil. That you are supposed to hide it, while 'everyone' is doing it.

The more people pay lip service to how clean cycling has become, the more cynical I am that there is a movement for real change. The more I am convinced that there will just be another - Festina - Operation Puerto rug sweep.
 

·
Make America grope again
Joined
·
4,754 Posts
Hopefully they aren't fans of baseball or football, professional or college. Speaking of college, I'm amazed with the amount of cheating that went on back then and they're only getting better at it.
Note that I said "if" I had a kid.

I'm pretty aware that sports in general are full of drugs. Some assh*le doped at speedwalking, for goodness sake. But this is a cycling forum.

If I had a kid I would encourage them to get into non competitive sports. Like hiking, yoga, outdoor sports for adventure.

And what is your point about college?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,245 Posts
As long as there is money to be made and fame/notoriety to be had ... cheaters will continue to be around and that will "Never" change, regardless of how much people want it to. Heck ... you don't even need those to have cheating take place since many amateurs are cheating these days just for the sake of their ego.

We have heard the same "Song and Dance" before and we will hear it again in 10 years time ... the only difference is the cheaters are getting better at it. Each time one has a good program, the others learn from it and get better ... and the cycle continues and continues and continues.

People need to come to terms with the fact it's "Entertainment" ... nothing more, nothing less. They need to stop idolizing them and watch the sport for what it is ... entertaining and fun to watch, just like every other sport out there. Once that happens, people will stop giving a crap about doping or cheating and just "Enjoy the show".
 

·
Make America grope again
Joined
·
4,754 Posts
Professional athletes aren't the only ones cheating. What happened in my class was purely amazing. Many of them failed boards, because it's pretty hard to cheat on those. Most of them are now healthcare practitioners.
I'm getting pretty tired of all the Excuses. 'Other sports are full of cheaters' 'college kids cheat' 'all cyclists cheat.'

At some point, you just have to quit worrying about what everyone else is doing and do what's right. Be a person you can be proud of and face in the mirror in the morning.

I think cycling is very dirty. I think it can be cleaned up. I hope that someday it is, though that may be wishful thinking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,904 Posts
..... People need to come to terms with the fact it's "Entertainment" ... nothing more, nothing less. They need to stop idolizing them and watch the sport for what it is ... entertaining and fun to watch, just like every other sport out there. Once that happens, people will stop giving a crap about doping or cheating and just "Enjoy the show".
+1 well said!
 

·
UNBANNABLE
Joined
·
374 Posts
As long as there is money to be made and fame/notoriety to be had ... cheaters will continue to be around and that will "Never" change, regardless of how much people want it to. Heck ... you don't even need those to have cheating take place since many amateurs are cheating these days just for the sake of their ego.

We have heard the same "Song and Dance" before and we will hear it again in 10 years time ... the only difference is the cheaters are getting better at it. Each time one has a good program, the others learn from it and get better ... and the cycle continues and continues and continues.

People need to come to terms with the fact it's "Entertainment" ... nothing more, nothing less. They need to stop idolizing them and watch the sport for what it is ... entertaining and fun to watch, just like every other sport out there. Once that happens, people will stop giving a crap about doping or cheating and just "Enjoy the show".
So, we (the spectators) should just watch it and not care about the consequences the riders suffer both short term or long...as long as we are entertained. That is what you are saying. This would mean it is okay for them to be role models for our youth so that the mill continues to churn out fodder for our amusement. I am okay with this as long as everybody else is okay with it.
 

·
Make America grope again
Joined
·
4,754 Posts
So, we (the spectators) should just watch it and not care about the consequences the riders suffer both short term or long...as long as we are entertained. That is what you are saying. This would mean it is okay for them to be role models for our youth so that the mill continues to churn out fodder for our amusement. I am okay with this as long as everybody else is okay with it.
I'm not so concerned about Pros. But I am concerned about semi-pros, college kids, high school kids. When they fry their livers using stuff they bought at the gym trying to make the baseball team. Deluded that they will be the next Armstrong, or Barry Bonds.

Or wind up with cancer, strokes, heart attacks and so on. Just look at the health problems for East German Olympians (and their children) and sudden cycling deaths in the 90s. The rest of us wind up footing the bill.

We as a society prohibit things that cause damage - drunk driving, for example. Efforts around drunk driving like education and enforcement have reduced such accidents quite a bit.

Morally, one can argue doping until the cows come home. But health wise, there is a reason stuff like steroids are prohibited.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,245 Posts
So, we (the spectators) should just watch it and not care about the consequences the riders suffer both short term or long...as long as we are entertained. That is what you are saying. This would mean it is okay for them to be role models for our youth so that the mill continues to churn out fodder for our amusement. I am okay with this as long as everybody else is okay with it.
Yup ... I don't care what they do to themselves, they are adults and honestly, I work with individuals that do way worse to their bodies with drugs and alcohol than the Pro's ever will. It's called "Free Will"

Somewhere along the line people have developed this idea that they can regulate what other people can or can't do to their own bodies because all the sudden it's "Their" business. What gives any of us the right to tell others what they can or can't do to their bodies? The sheer training load they do is detrimental to their health, let alone the drugs.

And to finish it off ... if you are letting your kids look up to athletes, actors, singers, celebrity stars as "Role Models" ... you have bigger problems than Pro's doping. It's called being a parent and "YOU" setting the role model for them to follow.

If you are drinking, using substances, being a bully, aggressive with your behaviors, sitting on your butt while your wife/husband/significant other does all the house chores, blaming others for your problems, suing everybody because you didn't get what you want and acting like a 4 year old ... then "You" are the problem not the athletes. Take charge of being a parent and you don't/won't have to worry about them looking up to a bunch of people that are far from role models.

Entertainment is just that ... fun to watch ... and it doesn't vary whether it's sports, movies, tv, radio, theater, etc. How is an actor that's using HGH to bulk up for a roll, or getting plastic surgery to continue looking younger any different than an athlete using PED's? They are still cheating others out of money, parts and fame/notoriety. However, that is rarely ever brought up and people allow their kids to look up to them because that's OK.

In the end ... Be a PARENT and you won't have to worry about the choices your kids make! Let others worry about it and enjoy the show!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,085 Posts
I'm getting pretty tired of all the Excuses. 'Other sports are full of cheaters' 'college kids cheat' 'all cyclists cheat.'

At some point, you just have to quit worrying about what everyone else is doing and do what's right. Be a person you can be proud of and face in the mirror in the morning.

I think cycling is very dirty. I think it can be cleaned up. I hope that someday it is, though that may be wishful thinking.
Excuses? That's for them, not me. If you can't already tell, mankind isn't exactly the most honest. I chose not to cheat in school. I'm slightly angry that it was so prominent since those people basically destroyed the grading curve. I was borderline a few times and would like to think the inflated scores kinda hurt me. Fortunately, I survived.

I've never needed to cheat in a bike race, either.
 

·
Bianchi-Campagnolo
Joined
·
3,902 Posts
Ted King is right about the change of morale.
There is hope now, as opposed to 1999. Very important to get rid of Fat Pat, though.
 

·
Not Banned
Joined
·
49,013 Posts
People need to come to terms with the fact it's "Entertainment" ... nothing more, nothing less. They need to stop idolizing them and watch the sport for what it is ... entertaining and fun to watch, just like every other sport out there. Once that happens, people will stop giving a crap about doping or cheating and just "Enjoy the show".
yup
and I am still entertained by an NFL game knowing those players have probably all had some help
the battles between a doped Museeuw and a doped Hincapie were still great
 
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top