The end of an era, the beginning of a new one!

Well, this is I think still going to go out to all of you who follow, and I’d like to say a massive thank you to you people for supporting the site, for commenting and for reading.

However, after just about 2 and a half years I decided it was time to shift to a custom-built site that could host all that has become, so that I can feature the consulting work, the coaching, the cycle tours and the brand new shop that is on the new site –  worth a look, got some great prices on there! (plug plug)

And I’d tried to stay true to the original crankpunk with its lower case letters on the new site too – the blog is hardly changed and I’ll still be ranting and raving over there about all that is wrong, and right, about this great sport we love so terribly much.

So, thanks folks! I’m working on getting a ‘follow’ button on the new site but it seems that FB and Tw@tter are the way to go these days.

The original cp will remain but wil be titled

Anyway, onwards and upwards. Cheers and a big kiss to you all!

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Brand New CRANKPUNK.COM coming very soon!

The time is right, is about to grow up – just a little, don’t worry!

The original CP blog will be almost unchanged, but there will be a dedicated training section, an events page, and a store with the CP tes, kit and also, full bikes, frames, wheels and more for sale at some good discounted prices.

From early next week, you’ll be able to have a look at 2.0.

Here’s a sneak peek of how it’s shaping up.

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Nicole Cooke: ‘I blew the whistle on drugs but no one listened to me’

From today’s The Guardian, and excellent article by the first British winner of the Tour de France (sorry Sir Wiggo) and former Olympic and World Champ, Nicole Cooke, on CIRC, TUEs and the curious selective hearing of the authorities when it comes to doping.

Click the image below to head to the article.

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Levi Leipheimer moves into PORN

Levi gives good stem

Levi gives good stem

Yes it’s true.

Get the kids and any sensitive souls out of the room because the content of this YouTube video will shock and scar you for life.

It’s basically two dudes going at it for near on an hour.

Quite how the guy in the hat keeps it hard for that long during this intense scene is beyond me.

The money shot basically begins in the first second and goes on all the way through.

Levi, good on you mate for not drowning in the love juice flooding over you…

Thanks to Nick Schaffner for this one.


Lee’s Lowdown on Strade Bianche: Valverde and Van Avermaet stain the white roads

Yeah, who to cheer for when one guy is an unrepentant doper, one is under investigation for connections to a dodgy doctor, when one rode on whilst under threat of suspension and the other is copying him?

If you love the sport, recognise the UCI (under current rules) is unable to temporarily stop you racing, know that race organisers are cowards and your team management are without ethics and any understanding why this has to stop, please stop taking advantage of all this weakness and stop crapping on the fans.

Take a stand and sit it out til all is resolved.

We’ve suffered Contador, Valverde and others, now Van Avermaet, who’s even missing a hearing date with the Belgian authorities to ride Tirreno-Adriatico.

Van Avermaet's Facebook profile pic

Van Avermaet’s Facebook profile pic

Click on the image below to head to PEZ – and kudos for them for publishing this, I know many other mainstream sites that definitely would not.

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Cillian Kelly on CrankPunk makes the footnotes of the CIRC report

I said this earlier today on Twitter: the CIRC folk could have saved themselves a lot of time if they’d just read in the first place. It was a bit of a glib comment but, a little amazingly, it seems that the CIRC folk did indeed do just that when doing research for the report, as an excellent article by Cillian Kelly of Irish Peloton on here last year makes the footnotes on page 150.



A moment for celebration?

No, not really. The real fact of the matter is that this report should never have been necessary and it wouldn’t have been had the authorities, the teams, the riders, race organisers and journalists (I’m getting deja vu here) not been such a motley crew of cretins and cowards.

CIRC has said very very little that people close to pro cycling did not know already – if there is a silver lining it is that it’s shut up even the naysayers – for now. I’m sure we’ll hear them scraping their knuckles over the pebbles when they emerge from under their stones soon enough though.

To read Cillian’s article, which is just as if not even more relevant now than when it was published – click here.

A chat with BLKTEC’s CEO, Greg Grobler

I’ve been riding on BLKTEC‘s wheelsets and components (stem, bars and seatpost) for almost a year now and though they do sponsor me (I want to make that clear as I can) I really only have good things to say about them. Well he would say that, you may be thinking but also, I don’t choose to partner with companies making bad products.

I will be putting up a review on the C5 wheelset soon, with the all carbon C1 set review to follow.


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It’s not just me that thinks they’re good either. One product buyer for a big Asian distributor described the BLKTEC stuff as ‘the best products at the Taichung Bike Week’ last year. The Taichung Bike Week, if you don’t know, is a yearly show that brings together project managers with manufacturers that is closed to the public, and might be just about the most important bike ‘show’ all year.

I caught up with Greg Grobler recently to ask him about the company of which he is the CEO. Greg, 29 and from South Africa originally, could well be at the helm of one of the fastest growing bike companies very soon.

Lee Rodgers: Is there room in the bike world for yet another components manufacturer?

Greg Grobler: I believe there is, especially when you are developing products that are unique to the industry. People love to see new and exciting things and that’s what we have.

LR: For instance?

GG: The C1 wheelset perhaps is the most eyecatching, and then there is also the M1 stem. The M1 has internal routing and a super high strength to weight ratio.

The M1 Stem

The M1 Stem

The C1 Wheel

The C1 Wheel

LR: How did the company get started and who are the people behind it?

GG: The original idea of creating the brand started in the UK. Since Taiwan is known worldwide for being the best in manufacturing carbon products we moved it over to Taiwan. Set up shop here and haven’t looked back.

LR: What is the brand philosophy and how it is reflected in the products?

GG: It’s about quality, durability and craftsmanship. We take our products very seriously and do everything we can to make them the best quality possible. When you pick up a BLKTEC product you will immediately notice that.

LR: What are your main markets?

GG: The USA and Asia, so far.

LR: What do you intend people to experience who ride BLKTEC products?

GG: When people use our products I want them to experience the quality and bring out confidence in their riding through using our products. We’re not messing around here, there’s no point doing anything at 90%. Our development team is continually looking to create the best product. I ride too and I want the best stuff out there on people’s bikes. If that means going against the grain to get it done, then so be it. We’re here to stay.

Greg Grobler, BLKTEC INC CEO

Greg Grobler, BLKTEC INC CEO

UCI employing former doper – man behind MTN-Qhubeka feeder team also responsible for development of African talent

Speaking last week ahead of the release of the findings of the CIRC report, UCI President Brian Cookson spoke of the need to ‘define who is a fit and proper person’ to have in the sport.

“We want to be able to look at what happened in order to avoid falling into the same traps,” he said. “We would also like to have some guidelines to help us, for example, with defining who is a fit and proper person to work in or around a team – bosses, coaches, directeurs sportifs, doctors etc. We need clear ethical criteria that allow for a proper assessment.”

It appears that the need for such guidelines is as pressing as ever given the fact that even the UCI does not seem quite sure how to decide who is fit and proper even when it comes to their own recruitment, as at least one former doper is in their employ.

Jean-Pierre van Zyl (known as JP) is a former South African professional cyclist who is the director of the African Continental Centre and also the man at the helm for MTN-Qhubeka’s feeder team, as well as being a delegate for the UCI. JP is also known to some as a rider who tested positive in 1999 for the banned substance Testosterone/Epitestsotrone.

JP van Zyl is also described as being a ‘mentor’ to Daniel Teklehaimanot, the Eritrean rider who signed for GreenEdge in 2012 and who now rides for MTN-Qhubeka.

Cookson definitely knows who van Zyl is, as the two are pictured here outside the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, just last year. This very image appeared on the UCI website.

JP van Zyl, left

JP van Zyl, left

Once again the depth of the problem in our sport is revealed by the long tendrils of doping. The sooner these ‘guidelines’ are revealed to us the better – and I am sure Brian Cookson will agree.

JP van Zyl’s connection to MTN-Qhubeka is one that will raise eyebrows, as the team’s founder Douglas Ryder is known for strong anti-doping comments.

On February 23rd this year, Ryder was quoted on The Outer Line saying “Why should people who cheated in the past continue to earn their living in pro cycling now? It’s not fair.”

Indeed it’s not. What will happen next remains to be seen.



“Your site is not a news site, it’s an op-ed site” – and what, exactly, are the others?

Sometimes I get a comment to an article and begin to write a reply but as I am in the middle of the process, I realise that the thing is becoming an article in itself. I’m not putting this up to have a pop at the commentator but I believe that this all concerns a very important topic in light of the reporting on the recent CIRC report and the Knaven issue. In fact, it’s important in relation to the whole sorry history of doping in our beloved sport.


The comment read:

“I have to say that I really do find your articles to be quite good and I appreciate that you keep on tilting at windmills.I do, however, object to the idea that news should be ever delivered with anything other then objectivity. Your site is not a news site, it’s an op-ed site. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but you need to remember that the goal of any journalist should be to report the facts objectively. And yes I do realize that it is difficult to do that while you have to cozy up to the industry to get any stories whatsoever, that doesn’t change the fact that journalism should be above bias.”


My Reply:

Thanks for the comment and I would fully agree were it not for the fact that it isn’t merely an ‘idea’ that the news is delivered with anything other than objectivity but a concrete fact, and it’s not us ‘bloggers’ that are the chief culprits. The established cycling media have been selecting what to present the great unwashed public with for decades and it is precisely their biased and thoroughly subjective presentation of selected slivers of ‘the news’ that has in large part helped create the sorry mess we are stuck in right now.

They sat through press conferences after seeing unbelievable feats and asked no questions. Interviewed Hein and Pat and asked them about routes for the Worlds and ignored the deaths of young riders all over Europe and beyond. Along with their faith in objectivity was there also a directive to the hacks to leave their ability to ask uncomfortable questions at the door?

The fact is that journalism should indeed be above bias but that only works if those with their hands on the controls and with the resources to abuse that power do not do so. The media, the UCI, the race organisers, the riders and team owners and management have been feeding us a twisted narrative of lies and deceit for so long that we cannot even see that it is continuing now.

It is not always obvious but we must realise that the old adage that silence speaks louder than words is absolutely true in this case. For many journalists, then and now, what they did not discuss was far more revealing as what they did. For many, keeping Mum was the best way for them to ‘deal with doping’ and to keep their editors, advertisers and the teams and their riders happy.

What got shafted in that equation was the sport itself and its ever-faithful fans.

The goal of any journalist should be, in my opinion, to reveal lies that are paraded as truth. Lofty? No, not at all. That’s what a few used to do – it’s what very few still do.

The BBC itself was recently manipulated by Armstrong into granting his request for an filmed interview which came between his girlfriend taking the blame when he crashed the car drunk and being found out by the police, and that information becoming public. The interviewer gave LA another blast of oxygen for his fire whilst getting another notch on his celebrity bedpost and you want to tell me that is not biased nor subjective?

It’s not a case of ‘cozying up to the industry’ – it’s a case of being the industry.

If you’re here to lecture me on the role of impartiality in the press and to suggest that CyclingSnooze and others like it are unbiased when in fact they have been guilty of not only ignoring doping for many years but also of creating gods out of cheats that they knew as sure as they could be were cheats, then you are not going to get very far with that one.

I’d rather Armstrong, MacQuaid and Vino write the news than these so-called journalists – at least then those reading might easier see the true bias threaded through these thuddingly mediocre and contrived articles.




Sky screw the doping poodle again & the cycling media go ‘meh’

Sean Yates’ fate shows Team Sky will show no mercy in doping cull!’

So blared the headline in the Telegraph newspaper back in October 2012 atop an article by Brendan Gallagher in which the writer lauded Sky’s zero tolerance policy with regards to doping past and present by any of its staff. He wrote:

‘Brailsford’s zero tolerance approach has been derided as naive by some, and unrealistic by others, who argue that drug use has been so widespread in the sport that if only the ‘clean’ people remain, there would be hardly anyone left. But the departure of Yates in particular will resonate around the sport, and Sky can claim to be delivering on their vow to build a scandal-free team.’

“We’ve made clear our commitment to being a clean team and have always been open about the steps we’re taking,” he said last week.

‘”Sky started as a clean team and we will continue to be a clean team. It is the guiding principle to what we do. A British winner of the Tour de France is worthless unless he is a clean rider. People must continue to be able to believe in us.”’

He then presented a 45 minute powerpoint to the assembled journos on how Sky planned to utilise The Power of the Unicorn in its search for yet another marginal gain, but by the time he revealed the animal, which hitherto had been hidden beneath a papier mache rendering of Shane Sutton, the LSD that the scribes had knocked back after lunch was kicking in that hard that no one was quite sure if they’d actually seen a proper unicorn or if it was in fact just a pony with a traffic cone attached to its forehead with masking tape.

CyclingSnooze had only dropped a half though and was um, like, uh, pretty sure that the ‘unicorn’ was indeed a pony, and even had a grainy cell phone image that might have proved it and did consider doing an expose on the incident, but later it was vetoed as someone in the marketing department pointed out that the pony might in the future want to advertise on the site.

I might be digressing here but I can’t tell as the pharmaceuticals are kicking in.

Anyway, Sky are full of crap. Can I put it more simply than that? No.

First it was guys like Yates walking when asked to sign an anti-doping statement, Barry and the Tramadol stuff, then Geert Leinders, the former Rabo doc who was recently banned for life for possession, trafficking and administering banned substances including the blood-booster erythropoietin, testosterone, insulin, DHEA and corticosteroids; with administering blood transfusions, and with covering up anti-doping violations.

Ticking all the boxes there Geert, you’re thorough, if nothing else. Well, that and a stain on your profession.

Then you had Tiernan-Locke and his drinking habit that pushed up his haematocrit level enough to get him kicked off the team –  good thing he and Contador never went out for a meal together eh?

‘Waddya fancy Alberto?’

‘Ah… steak and a few pints, Lockey?’

And now this palava with Servais Knaven.

What has amazed me about this stuff coming out is that just two days ago in The Guardian by Sean Ingle, Brailsofrd was being praised for his cunning and cleverness in looking into developing technology in pursuit of, you guessed it, those marginal gains.

The article, fawning and not mentioning a word about Sky’s willingness to associate itself with riders and staff that at best can be said to raise suspicions, finishes with this:

As always, Team Sky are determined to be at the forefront of it all.’

Sycophantic claptrap if you ask me (the timing of which might make some suspicious folk wonder if Sky knew the DailyMail article was coming out soon, balancing  a negative article with a positive one). Perhaps journalists like Ingle writing this stuff and instead ask the man why his zero-tolerance policy is seen as a sham. Ask him if he understands why Sky’s failure on its promise has led even more fans to lose what little faith they had in the sport. Ask him, too, why they are continuing to stand by Knaven, who, The Daily Mail today is claiming was a doper, despite his repeated insistence that he never took banned drugs.

This is from the article:


  • An expert toxicologist who tested Knaven’s blood, taken when TVM abandoned the 1998 Tour following a police raid that July, testified he had taken EPO
  • Cortisone, a banned endurance steroid hormone that riders are not allowed to take without special permission, was found in his urine
  • A drug called Naftidrofuryl, which widens the blood vessels and is most typically used in the treatment of arterial disease, was also in his urine, as was a trace of the anti-inflammatory drug propyphenazone
  • Sachets of a drug called Persantin was found in Knaven’s room. Also known as dipyridamole, it is a blood thinner designed to prevent clots. There is seemingly no sporting reason for taking it but it could be used as a ‘counterbalance’ for users of EPO, which can dangerously thicken the blood
  • Knaven said: ‘With regard to use of Persantin and Naftidrofuryl, neither of them were illegal or on the list of banned substances. I used them on very rare occasions to get rid of cramps during long stage races.’
  • Statements given to police by Knaven in December 1998, of which the MoS has full transcripts, show that he did not contest the findings of tests on his urine, blood and hair. He said there could be an alternative explanation to the EPO finding other than doping; he had no idea what some of the other drugs were or how they got into his system; admitted taking Persantin, for ‘heavy legs’; and concluded by saying Mikhailov was a good doctor and that he, Knaven, took whatever the doctor told him; the medical evidence was disputed in court.

Knaven; Sky’s the limit

“It is important to remember that no charges were ever brought against Servais. This goes back over 15 years and has been looked at several times during that period,” reads a Sky statement on the matter.

If you think about Sly’s initial zero-tolerance policy from when the team began, it was something to be praised. Many wondered how they could do it with the sport so full of juicers, but they pinned their colors to the mast and for that, they deserved credit. Many scoffed and they have been proven right but Sky did not need to do it. It might have been part-marketing ploy and part genuine, at the time, it’s hard to say completely.

However, it has been a disaster so far, no doubt about that. It is these blatant failures to fulfill that promise and their inability or unwillingness to look to former riders and doctors who were considered clean rather than these who were not that marks Brailsford as a hypocrite on this issue.

What is telling about the state of cycling in a wider sense is that neither the UCI nor any other team either praised Sky when they made their initial zero-tolerance statement not said ‘hey we’ll do that too’, and dare we wonder why?

Because you’d be very hard-pressed to find a DS in the sport now who did not dope when he was a rider, and also because the UCI has at least one doper on its payroll itself (more on that later). Braislford’s decision to go with (should I say try to) zero tolerance was in effect a policy that, if adopted by the UCI itself, would have seen a mass exit of coaches and directeur sportifs leave the sport overnight.

In a sport in which you have a man busted for amphetamine use (Roger Legeay) heading the Movement for a Credible Cycling, another busted for EPO (David Millar) being an athlete representative for WADA, and all those cronies managing teams when they’re not purring over their bank accounts and the plaudits of fools, well, what do you expect?

And still through all this the cycling media will report on this as ‘news’, delivered to the hungry with absolutely zero subjective commentary – if they report on it at all. Why? Because opinions don’t pay the rent, nor do they buy advertising space, not in the bike world.

Right. I’m off to find me a unicorn.