Bringing back the credibility
Let's not paint everyone with the same brush.
There’s been a lot of talk about Team Sky and their dominance. Some have made the suggestion that the Sky team is similar to the U.S. Postal Service team and we all know what that means...
The grumbling continued when Chris Froome won the Criterium du Dauphine over his teammate Richie Porte. Froome told the assembled press that his results prove that cycling is cleaner.
“The fact that I’m able to finish at the front in the mountains and in the general classification means that the sport has changed since ten years ago,” Froome told L’Equipe.
Recently 39-year old Fred Rodriguez won the U.S. Professional National Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Almost immediately there were some negative reactions to his victory as Rodriguez is part of the Lance Armstrong era when doping was integral to the training plan.
Like Froome, Rodriguez has never been suspended for doping, had a code name attached to a blood bag, or been part of a redacted list. Can I say with one-hundred percent certainty that Rodriguez, Froome, and Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali are clean? Of course not. All we have is guilt by association, and to be honest that’s all it has taken to be lumped in with other unrepentant dopers like Danilo Di Luca. Fans of the cycling sport have been burned so many times that any extraordinary performance is equal to a positive doping test in our eyes. “Not normal” is the new buzz phrase.
It is easy to stay angry at the current situation in cycling when we still have riders being popped. It’s even easier to become cynical when the Paul Kimmage fund disappears. Heck, this was created by people who were trying to help professional cycling and that got screwed up! Before you ask, I have no idea what is going on other than both sides have retained lawyers. Anyways...you can see how easy it is to just go Amanda Bynes crazy and conclude cycling is as legit as WWE Wrestling.
I’ve been thinking about this change in attitude for a couple of weeks. We are nearing the start of the 2013 Tour de France. Rumors and innuendo about riders gets whipped up into frenzy - this rider is riding “too good” or another rider has been away at a training camp only to return even stronger than before. I’m going to take the bold step and TRY not to think every awe-inspiring performance is brought to us by performance enhancing drugs. However, I might relapse into believing a statement from an anonymous Twitter account claiming to have proof someone is riding dirty.
I’m freely copying from Outside Magazine’s Aaron Gulley, who is also taking a similar approach. I love the sport way too much to let every rider’s win taint my enjoyment. I’m not going to put my head in the sand and naively think everything is okay in the sport because Jonathan Vaughters tweeted something positive. I’m still going to be critical, but I’m not going to waste my energy pointing fingers at riders for nothing more than winning.