Friday, 18 January 2013

a book review of sorts

there are many things we do to ourselves in the name of our sport and an awful lot of them have to do with adding layers to the layers of pain we already feel. So too recently when laid up with injury your fellow guffer thought it would be a good idea to read The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton, From Lance to Landis by David Walsh which in turn prompted a re read of Rough Ride by Paul Kimmage. These can make miserable reading about a period in our cycling history that leaves us as enthusiasts feeling distinctly queezy.

I am struggling to think of another sport that would, despite the apparent ineptness of its governing body, take out its leading athletes. (I use the word in abroad sense) If there is a silver lining to all this doping crap in our sport it could just be the fact that cycling is further ahead than any other sport in rooting out the cheats.

In this context it is very difficult to ignore the orchestrated interview from one Mr Armstrong today as he attempted to manipulate his public image (again) and dare I say it in his own interests with little regard to anyone else and especially not our sport. He is no doubt a divisive character and splits opinion in the guff peleton. ( A fact that did not stop us riding when he turned up in Paisley in 2009)

Having read the above publications written by people who have endured Mr Armstrong aggression and bullying since 1999 three issues come to light that in my humble opinion remain troubling. In the first instance Mr Armstrong doped from the get go from the time he rode for Motorola. So far so unusual. More troubling is that the stuff he put in his body may just have been responsible for the cancer and thirdly that the cancer should have been detected in the doping tests that he gave. In the light of interviews where he just manages to admit the first and in the absence of more demanding interviews, there remain more questions than answers. The deficit raises uncomfortable issues for cycling's ruling body, race organisers and doping control. Without wishing to sound conspiratorial Mr Armstrong's was no lone gunman who acted alone.

It can be difficult at times like these to raise your spirits but we should remember that in this instance, despite the damage, that this is old news relating to 1999 to 2005. In the period since we can look to more worthy individuals he says hopefully such as Sastre, Evans and Wiggins. And look to a future where doping culture is neither imagined or tolerated.

There is this other photo from the day that I am glad to say came out since I was shaking with excitement in the company of one of Scotland's greats.

Take a bow Mr Obree