i’ve written this before but it’s worth noting again i think. when i started crankpunk i was between journalism jobs and seeking an outlet to write about what is one of the driving passions of my life, the bike, and all things cycling. as a rider and a racer who dropped out of the sport at 18 largely because of a disenchantment brought on by a growing awareness of doping at the top level, i was aware, as i returned to the sport after an almost two decade hiatus, that pro cycling was probably dirtier than ever (this was 2008), but had my love rekindled by rediscovering the simple joy of riding, and soon after, racing once again.
that the beginning of crankpunk coincided with the breaking of the investigation by USADA was a coincidence, but one that had and continues to have a profound effect on the content of this site. i believe that it’s impossible to separate that love for this sport and the curse of illegal substance abuse in cycling, and though it is a scandal in itself and an indictment of the severe failings of Verbruggen’s and MacQuaid’s UCI presidencies that it has fallen to ordinary fans to drive for the change so needed in the sport, this is where we are.
the bureaucrats failed cycling, many of the pros failed cycling, the team managers, doctors and organisers of races too, for so many years, that the onus is on us to make some f*&%ing noise. don’t listen to anyone who says it doesn’t matter anymore. it matters more than ever, with a certain Texan trying again to write his own script and squirm back into something resembling respectability – and not just him, others are at it too, some do it in their own passive aggressive manner, a la Leipheimer, others do it whilst polishing their own home-spun halos, like Hamilton, whilst countless others just go away for 2 years then resurrect careers and watch their bank accounts grow once again.
the web offers us an opportunity to make a little noise here and there, and though it is difficult to quantify how much, it does get noticed. whether these voices will ever influence policy is another matter, one that yet remains to be seen. but with people like Steve Tilford out there, and sites like Bike Pure amongst others, and with others coming along here and there, the clamour is growing.
one other that i’ve mentioned here is The Outer Line, whose authors have just posted an article very much worth a read, entitled The Forgive Me Roadshow, offering another reminder (and yes, it seems it is required, judging from some of the comments people post on cp and in other places) that nothing has changed for LA – his ‘Tour of Redemption’ (as termed by Betsy Andreu) sees him pulling out all the old tricks and carrying on business as usual.
a recommended read.