- Posted by Emma Silversides
- comments (1)
A few weeks ago it was the Landis doping accusations plastered all over the front pages of the Belgian papers, last week it was the turn of ‘Cancellara's technological doping case'. Only a few months ago the media had him up on a pedestal; ‘Super-talent', ‘Untouchable', ‘Another Merckx?'... So yet another example of how fickle the media is; how quickly can the media influence our opinion of an athlete, and indeed a sport?
I have to admit that I have watched the Youtube ‘film' presenting a case against Cancellara; and a believable case that is. His seated accelerations over the Muur and along Mons-en-Pevele could well be powered by a hidden motor. Or the alternative is months of dedicated training, exceptional talent and a focus beyond the capabilities of most.
It will never be proved one way or another; the moment when that was possible has now been and gone. I am therefore not going to jump off the fence!
Cycling's vulnerability to both ‘technological doping' and ‘medical doping' has seemingly pushed it to the bottom of the integrity pile. Only a handful of sports can be victim to both kinds of doping (I think!) I recently saw an interview with Greg Searle; his genuine passion to test his body to its limits during both training and competition was hugely imposing throughout the interview. So if that is what he lives for, works for and takes so much pleasure in, would he consider planting a motor in his boat? We would all hope ‘no'.
As I sat in a doctor's waiting room yesterday contemplating this blog, I flicked through a book entitled ‘The 100 Greatest Moments of the Olympics'. I could not help smiling at a photo featuring four members of a female relay team in their rather antiquated costumes. My point? Then sport was simply sport; one ‘man' against the other, no one had considered a streamlined costume material or super tight fitting swim cap. Indeed for all sports there was no sponsorship deal at stake, no contract for the following year; money had not yet infiltrated to the extent that we now see. Are we slowly losing perspective of the true meaning of ‘good old competitive sport'?
- Posted by Robert Garbutt
- comments (0)
Having been lucky enough to secure a place in Sunday's Verenti Dragon Ride, I was particularly miffed to be laid low with a stomach bug at the weekend.
To make matters worse, I was inundated with stories of a brilliant ride and fantastic weather from the remainder of the office contingent on my return to CW Towers on Monday morning.
Oh well, missed that one, but there are still plenty of events to go. Even though we are halfway through the year there are some 110 rides to be ridden before the end of the season.
The UK sportive boom shows no signs of slowing, and there are now more events than ever. A newie but a goodie is the National Cyclo-Sportive on June 26 in Lancashire.
It's the day before the National Road Race Championships and the idea is that spectators get a chance to stretch their legs over 160 or 100 kilometres before settling back to watch Mark Cavendish, David Millar and co in action 24 hours later.
The sportive has the same start and finish as the title race, in Barley, but uses longer, scenic circuits that include ascents of the Trough of Bowland and Nick of Pendle.
It'll be a great weekend. Don't miss out.
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly magazine
- Posted by Simon Richardson
- comments (11)
Ivan Basso has been pleading with fans to believe. Believe in him, and believe in clean cycling. So do you believe in his Giro victory?
It would be easier to believe the Italian if he had been more contrite back in 2007.
All we got was a half admission. There were few people who believed that his blood stored in Madrid was never actually used for doping.
But compared to his 2006 Giro win, his performance this year was more believable.
Four years ago he romped to a huge victory with ease; this year his face was a picture of pain throughout the final week as he dragged himself over the savage climbs of the Dolomites, eventually winning by less than two minutes.
So despite his past, to many it was a believable ride in what was a simply unbelievable race. The drama started on day one back in the Netherlands, and didn't relent until Sunday's final stage in Verona.
Crashes, terrible weather and, at times, crazy race routing made the 2010 Giro one of the best races of the past decade.
The Giro is regularly the most interesting Grand Tour as race organiser Angelo Zomegnan takes his event to places that the Tour de France wouldn't go near, and no single team dominates for three weeks.
The Tour has some way to go if it's going to rival this year's Giro for excitement.Simon Richardson is deputy editor of Cycling Weekly
- Posted by Robert Garbutt
- comments (9)
You can tell the Tour de France isn't far away: there's another major drugs scandal in the news. This one's a big one. It rivals the Festina scandal from 1998, with Floyd Landis accusing Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and just about everyone else from his days at US Postal and Phonak.
Floyd doesn't pull his punches. Some of it we have heard before, but his attack on the UCI is potentially the most damaging to our sport. Bike racing's world governing body and its former president, Hein Verbruggen, were quick to dismiss Landis's allegation that Armstrong and Bruyneel made a payment to ensure that a positive test for EPO at the Tour of Switzerland in 2001 was suppressed.
A separate storm is brewing over another payment. Armstrong told CW, in November 2008, that he had made a donation of $25,000 to the UCI in 2005. Last week, current UCI president Pat McQuaid admitted on Irish radio that the payment was in fact $100,000, $88,000 of which was spent on a Sysmex machine. Of the remaining $12,000 McQuaid said: "We had $12,000 change out of it, so what odds does that make?"
The same day, on another continent, Armstrong gave a press conference and was asked if he had ever paid the UCI any money. "Absolutely not." he replied.Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly
- Posted by Robert Garbutt
- comments (1)
First day out in their first Grand Tour and Team Sky have come up trumps. Bradley Wiggins swept away the disappointment of Sky's lacklustre Classics campaign when he rode the time trial of his life to claim the Giro's pink leader's jersey on Saturday.
After years of prologue near-misses, Wiggo produced a road performance equal to his Olympic and World Championship track success and duly justified the hype surrounding the new British super-squad.
After that incredible fourth place in last year's Tour de France there was absolutely no doubting Bradley's GC credentials, but the time trials never went quite to plan. He took the Dauphiné prologue in 2007, raising hopes for the London Grand Départ, but finished fourth, was beaten by just one second in the final time trial of last year's Giro and then was third in the opening time trial of the Tour.
Wiggo was becoming a nearly man, but Sky team boss Dave Brailsford knew there was still untapped potential.
"Brad can win big bike races like this if he really goes for it," Brailsford reasoned. "We thought, let's really put our minds to it."
It's an impressive start and according to a Sky sports director, Sean Yates "a proper stepping stone" for the Tour de France in a couple of months' time.Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly