Last week the French senate released its report on doping during the 1998 tour and surprise surprise some of the cycling’s biggest names were busted post careers just when it matters least. I’ve zoned out on my twitter timeline as each cycling news site I follow publishes their version of the story. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m having confession overload. I’m also not afraid to admit that I don’t care. What’s done is done and if you thought that the nineties were a clean era in cycling than I am envious of naivete.
That’s not to say that I don’t care if riders are doping now, because I do. But I can also say that my worldview will not be crushed if someday down the road some popular winner from this generation of riders is a cheat. I have belabored this point on these pages, but I will hammer it again. The sport’s biggest heroes were dopers. It does not change the way I feel about how they rode, the essence of who they are is on display, even through the amphetamine induced efforts of the fifties, sixties and seventies and the needled track marks of the Armstrong era.
In truth, the outrage at these revelations bothers me more than the revelations of doping themselves. If you are a cycling journalist and you have a view of cycling history that isn’t covered in a filter from your instagram then you knew deep down what was happening back then. Even if you pushed those “off the record” comments to the deep recesses of your mind. So please don’t act surprised, or outraged. I understand that it is part of your job to write about these things, but lets not pretend that the sins of the past need to be exposed so that we may have a cleaner future.
Fans and riders know what that time was like. Cycling is not a person and it doesn’t need to clear its concious so that it can start living with more integrity, that is the personal responsibility of the riders who lived that era. Their sins don’t belong to the sport, but to the riders themselves. So let’s keep moving forward. Or do as Brian Holm has postulated Jacques would:
Maitre Jacques would ignore: Prople who act surprised, when they hear about 90’s,,
— Brian Holm (@brianholm1962) July 25, 2013