Stephen Roche gave an interview with cyclingnews that elicited strong responses. Many people dismissed them out of hand, in a way that really pisses me off. I know it would be easy to join the masses on this one, but as you may have seen on Twitter, I won’t.
You don’t have to agree or disagree with him 100% or even 1%, but why not discuss the issues? While I often disagree with Jonathan Vaughters, at least he had the decency to respond in a proper manner.
Many people were quick to point out “there are more important things to worry about in cycling”, a reference to doping. So what?
- Does this mean that if you have several problems, you are not to talk about anything else until you have solved problem #1? Who in their right mind operates like that?
- If there is a “much bigger problem”, what have the people criticizing Roche done about that then? I presume they didn’t want to spend time on Roche’s points because they were too busy dealing with “problem #1”, but I see little evidence of that in most cases (some exceptions notwithstanding).
- The fact that most people refer to “much bigger problems” instead of saying “doping” already shows they are not dealing with it; if they cannot even properly name the problem, they’re still in denial.
This actually perfectly dovetails into an issue I have spoken out on frequently in the past few months. ALMOST NOBODY is talking about doping, so it’s disingenuous to say you can’t talk about other ways to improve cycling because you’re so busy discussing doping. My two main points:
- Why is nobody talking about how well or how poorly the biological passport is working? Why do these riders have the time to comment on Roche’s thoughts, but not on the fact that there hasn’t been a biological passport case in so long? If that is such an important issue, why not use your 140 characters to speak out on that instead of commenting on something that you think is not important?
- How many teams still have an active anti-doping program themselves? Look into that question and you’ll be shocked by the answer. Several teams have quietly stopped their independent anti-doping programs, sometimes without any type of announcement. No doubt, if you press them on it they will waffle about how the bio pass is now at a stage where you don’t need your own program anymore, but who believes that? Press them further on why they think the bio pass works so well, and you’ll likely get some version of “hey, did you see what Stephen Roche said?”
Aren’t some of the people who say Roche should focus on “the big issues” the same as those who droned on about race radios for the entire season last year? Pot, meet kettle.
I’ll discuss the actual points Roche made in a later blog. And I have a follow-up on the Frei blog coming up. To get them delivered automatically, just sign up here.