Friday, February 18, 2011

Maître Jacques

You'll remember a few months ago I revisited the old myth that you "shouldn't buy a cycling magazine with Lance Armstrong on the cover" and how this was linked, in a small way, to me stopping buying CycleSport magazine. It was a multifactorial discussion and the Lance-factor was minimal compared to the magazine's cost, the internet ( and in particular - free, so very free) and the fact you couldn't beleive anything you were reading any more.

It's depressing to watch those old cycling videos from the late 90s, the height of the EPO era, and hear Phil and Paul's commentary and realise how in ten years they haven't changed! They still steadfastly ignore doping and still prefer to believe that great changes in "form" are always, but always, down to hard work and natural talent. I mean, listen to them commentate on the 1999 LBL and talk about Festina barely mentioning the mere trifle of a fact that ten months previously they'd been kicked out the TdF before it started because Willy Voet was caught with a car-full of drugs. They tried though and their commentary might lead the uninformed to believe that Willy was a rogue pedlar of PEDS operating outside of the system. And these people are the English languages voices of the sport?

It feels like the chain has turned full circle. Yet now it's hard to even open a website (sorry, Cyclingnews) for the same reasons I couldn't part with my hard-earned $12 CAD a decade ago. The European racing season has started, and we're on a countdown to the Spring Classics. No offence to the Grand Tours, but the Classics arguably offer the best month of racing. No sitting in during these races, they're all raced to be won and let the devil take the hindmost.

Yet everyone is leading with Contadoper's acquittal and then return to racing; on subsequent days no less. This story managed to relegate Retirement 2.0 down a couple of lines, but it's still all there. I steeled myself an opened a "reactions to Armstrong's retirement" story. Cedric Vasseur was quoted as saying the haters are motivated by jealousy and that "it's easier to support the second-placed rider - just think of Poulidor".

What, Armstrong is our generation's Anquetil? Puh-leeze! Any more of this drivel and I'll just have to get my cycling news from Cozy Beehive!


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