Cycling needs a new doping test. But this is not about drugs, rather the need to rid the sport of the dopes who’ve overseen its descent into the roadside gutter.

His tyres have got no air left in them ... Picture: AFP

Top of the list is Pat McQuaid, president of cycling’s world governing body the UCI. Last night in Geneva, he announced that there was no place in cycling for Lance Armstrong and that his seven Tour De France titles would be erased from history.

Doh! It took McQuaid two weeks to come up with that bleeding obvious conclusion, which given the weight of evidence against sport’s biggest ever cheat and liar, was a huge failing in itself. But it was what McQuaid didn’t say during the press conference that was more important.

He couldn’t say how the world’s most sophisticated and large-scale doping regime had gone undetected for so long. He could not justify why the UCI had received $125,000 in donations from Armstrong, even though he was a drug suspect at the time, and he had no idea what the UCI would do next to rebuild the sport, sanction cheats still in cycling or deal with disillusioned sponsors.

He had no answer to the question of which cheats (self-confessed or otherwise) should be allowed to have a role in the sport in future and which should not. His management team would not be meeting until Friday to address this biggest crisis the sport has ever faced, he said.

It got worse when McQuaid (excruciatingly) quoted President John F. Kennedy to suggest a crisis also presented an opportunity. Just what that opportunity is, he was unable to articulate.

The whole event seemed aimed at protecting the UCI’s reputation and the incompetents who’ve mismanaged world cycling over the years. This was not an enhanced performance as McQuaid and his awkward offsiders served up the spin faster than a Mark Cavendish back wheel.

Now it’s time for a line in the bitumen. Not only should the performance-enhanced dregs of the Armstrong era be driven out of the sport (whether they be riders, sporting directors, team managers or administrators) but so should the people who let it happen on their watch and subsequently did nothing in the years that followed Armstrong’s retirement.

Those who love cycling have been cheated, duped and lied to. In the words of commentator Phil Liggett, we’ve all been taken for a ride. It’s now time to sack the dopes along with the dopers. Good riddance.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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22 comments

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    • TheTruth says:

      12:56pm | 23/10/12

      If this news comes as any surprise to a Cycling Fan then yep you are a dope. Cycling commentators need to drop the act as well.
      Anyone who spends more than 5 minutes around the sport from the U16’s and up knows exactly how bad this sport it at all levels.

    • K2 says:

      01:56pm | 23/10/12

      @TheTruth - yep.  Know someone personally who was offered a spot in the Aus cycling team - he knew that would mean doping+performance enchancing and decided to stay clean - this meant he lost his spot, when he refused to take enhancers.  Cycling is pretty bad at it, and yes from young ages.  Although the particular person I know was in 20’s when approached.

    • Vicki PS says:

      02:28pm | 23/10/12

      Exactly.  It was a dirty sport 40 years ago, and nothing seems to have changed.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      12:57pm | 23/10/12

      Somehow this reminds me of the HSU scandal. If it’s happening on one union it’s probably happening in all of them to some degree at least - and probably for a long time.
      So what’s so unique about cycling?

    • AdamC says:

      01:06pm | 23/10/12

      It is difficult to argue with this. One cannot help but suspect the UCI was, at best, wilfully ignorant of the rampant cheating by Armstrong, his cronies and seemingly many of the top ranking cyclists.

      On the other hand, at least there has been prompt action in respect of USADA’s report into Lance Armstrong’s conduct. It stands in stark contrast to the media and ALP’s handling of Craig Thomson and Michael Williamson, for example. (I realise I will be accused of politicising this thread, but I cannot help but see a ridiculous double standard at play.)

    • St. Michael says:

      01:23pm | 23/10/12

      There’s nothing moral in the “prompt action”.  It’s just standard Inspector Louis “shocked, shocked” behaviour when an administrator is threatened.

    • jjohn says:

      01:27pm | 23/10/12

      The team won the titles, not Armstrong on his own. And if they don’t give the prize to second because he was on drugs then he should be disqualified as well, and so on. So much of this is b.s. I don’t know where to start. The management of this reminds you of….....

    • Blackadder says:

      01:36pm | 23/10/12

      I enjoy watching cycling purely for the commentary of Phil Liggett. I feel for him, and sincerely hope he continues with his contract.

      Unfortunately, now if I watch cycling, at the back of my mind, I’ll be wondering who’s on drugs and who isn’t, as the sport appears riddled with it, and the authorities so incompetent in stamping it out.

      Not the image they want to promote, no doubt…

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      01:53pm | 23/10/12

      Will the SA Government now sue Armstrong for the return of all those millions of SA Taxpayers dollars the ex & totally unregretted premier Mike Rann gave to his New Best friend so often?
      If not. Why not?
      He came here under false pretences.
      He betrayed not just all his prima donna cycling mates.
      He also betrayed an entire generation of young people.
      People he encouraged to treat him as some sort of hero.
      A hero status built on lies & deception
      Does anyone, anywhere, now give a damn about the Tour de France?
      Does anyone, anywhere, now give a Flying F#$k about the Tour Down Under?
      Does anyone, anywhere care about anything to do with Cycling anymore?
      Oh! Yes! A few do!
      They’ve got veins full of EPO, Blood transfusions & huge doses of cancer-inducing Testosterone all hidden away behind lycra.

    • Ross says:

      03:28pm | 23/10/12

      The idea of paying LA to race at TDU was to promote the event and get people to attend (spectators as well as competitors). This happened, so I see it as contract fulfilled.
      I’ll be going to TDU next year (as a spectator) and I don’t take any PEDs or do blood transfusions.

    • AFR says:

      02:04pm | 23/10/12

      The sport won’t clean up its act until all the sponsors start pulling out.

    • Lie Lover? says:

      02:20pm | 23/10/12

      The UCI aren’t looking at Sky. Both Froome and Wiggins have improved massively in recent years and both now dominate a sport where domination on bread and water is not possible. They need to clean house and start to proactively pursue performances that defy science and logic.

    • biker8337 says:

      05:41pm | 23/10/12

      finally someone else who sees their performance as “not normal”. Shades of 1999 US Postal

    • Cyril says:

      02:37pm | 23/10/12

      Having lined up in the cycling queue for a spot in a team event, with my Malvern Star 3 speed with hub gear change and brakes, short mudguards, dynamo light and race handlebars I was disappointed when the selectors said I was in the wrong queue. “No old son”, they said, “you’re in the re-cycling queue, over there”. Bloke pointed to some old codgers on PMG telegram bikes. Reckon any old dope could beat them.

    • julian says:

      03:14pm | 23/10/12

      lots of sports have been weighed down by incompetent administrators. the AFL was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century under Andrew Demetriou - like him or hate him, he is a forward thinker, compared to the old guard who only thought in traditional terms about the game. it’s not without its faults, but it has grown immensely since then. cycling is still managed by the old guard, who haven’t come to terms with the fact doping can no longer be swept under the carpet. these people need to be flushed out.

    • Michael says:

      03:47pm | 23/10/12

      Get rid of Australias helmut laws .Every where i go i see the lycra people with their racing bikes and little booties with spikes on them and clingy tops with brand sponsorships all over them. Cycling was a free, convenient healthy and enjoyable activity now it has been overtaken by the extremists.Time to rid the nation of these fascist laws.

    • Handbrake Harry says:

      04:16pm | 23/10/12

      I saw the ABC journalism at its worst on Sunday while watching the Offsiders. They bagged cycling and the claim of Lance’s supporter’s that he had passed all his drug tests, then fawned over some superb racehorses. Does Barrie Cassidy actually look in the mirror?

    • SLF says:

      04:18pm | 23/10/12

      Outstanding performance by McQuaid.

      Blatteresque in its willful disregard of accountability, reality and empathy with what fans of the sport actually think.

    • James O says:

      04:29pm | 23/10/12

      Reality sucks, sports fans can’t sit back and watch their favourite sport anymore without thinking about drugs or whatever their superstar may be taking. Perhaps a blinkered naivety is another way of describing the commercial world of sport, not that that applies to the administrators or   maybe even a few commentators who are close to the sport, but you and those enthusiasts who pretend they are part of a competition peloton cycling home from work every day. Reality is an amoral enterprise system that will do whatever it takes to win commercial sponsorship contracts the rewards for the exeptionally talented athletes are such that risking body and soul becomes a mere consequence of doing business, signing a contract is a life changing moment of potential fame and money so you know there is going to be the small print especially in Franco europe. All the anguish is rather phoney, professional cycling is big budget and highly technical the riders are human sports machines and are fine tuned for performance the consequence of all this is now laid bare for all to see. The irony could well be that as far as professional sport is concerned it is only the tip of the iceberg, but with the current sports gambling craze I doubt if many will care.

    • Cat says:

      04:31pm | 23/10/12

      ALL SPORT is drug ridden and dirty - the cycling mob just got caught and happened to have a particularly high profile “hero”.
      The Olympics are riddled with drugs.
      Let’s face it, you only reach the top by taking drugs. All the hours of training are nothing without (a) some natural ability and (b) a hefty ingestion of banned substances.
      There is a limit to the number of records that can be broken naturally and that limit has almost certainly been reached. 
      Lance Armstrong was probably not up to date with the hush money he was paying someone.

    • stephen says:

      06:53pm | 23/10/12

      Cycling is a very controlled sport.
      Everything to do with it such as the teams, the training, the money sponsors give to the riders who are then expected to produce results, all are subject to the minutest scrutiny, and because there is so much money at stake, all participants, whether they are actually cyclists or not, will suffer if good results are not forthcoming.
      Drug taking is, then, another controlling aspect of this sport, and it is a substance that can predict results, over and above the mere stamina, effort and temperament of the riders.
      Cycling is a difficult sport, and when drugs were available and the common knowledge was that so many other riders were partaking, then to not take the stuff was a wildcard that was insurmountable to the weaker riders.
      It was and still is wrong, of course, to have ever taken drugs whilst competing.
      But the training regimes are so difficult, the win so important, that to have access to a controlling substance was unbelievably tempting.
      Armstrong’s guilty, but so are the scumbags Hamilton and Landis.
      And if you listen to them, then you must listen to the foremost when he does own up.

 

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