Oh what torture to sift through all the non-responses following Lance’s lifetime ban. Current riders, ex-riders, it seems as if they all hired the same lousy PR agency. I understand they don’t want to say anything, it’s not fun, but not everything in life is.
I blame it partially on the race radio; the sport has raised a generation of riders unaccustomed to think for themselves. In combination with the sport’s history and a generation of team management raised in the EPO-era, this is a dangerous cocktail - but that’s for another time.
What really irks me are riders saying “I prefer to concentrate on the future, not the past”. Firstly, 2009 and 2010 isn’t that far in the past. Secondly and more importantly, why don’t they understand that this case is all about the future?
Sure, the past grabs the attention with the seven stripped Tour wins, but we all know that’s meaningless with none of the new winners any more deserving than the old one.
The future part, the outcome that will affect current and future riders, is much larger:
- Two doctors banned for life worldwide in all sports. Ferrari may be the most famous – I had never heard of Del Moral until last year – but by some accounts it’s a pretty tight battle to determine who is worse.
- A third doctor likely to be banned for life soon. This is not just some hypothetical score for anti-doping, this is a doctor who is currently employed by Radioshack-Nissan-Trek and treating riders.
- A cycling manager may be banned for life soon too. Again not a hypothetical win, but somebody who till this day deals with cyclists on a daily basis at the same team.
- The fact that Lance cannot compete in triathlons going forward is also very much “future” and not “past”.
- No doubt this whole affaire will have ramifications for WADA, USADA and the UCI. It may provide the impetus to change how we organize anti-doping efforts. Other sports have had the same problem, but with cycling as everybody’s favorite whipping boy, the powers that be may now spring into action.
So tell the world you think Lance is God, or the devil, or even walk away with a meaningless “no comment”. But don’t say it’s all in the past and you prefer to focus on the future. This is the future.
More coming soon, so make it easy on yourself and subscribe to this blog.