pro cycling

Haters gonna hate, dopers gonna dope, Froome gonna Froome


What can I say? I made a mistake.

I’m only a simple, error-prone human.

I knew, even as I was doing it, that I shouldn’t be scrolling down that far. Especially on a Cycling Weekly story. Particularly when Chris Froome was the subject and Dave Brailsford is being quoted.

No good could come of those reader comments. Little wisdom was being imparted, and the sum of human knowledge was not being added to. I felt a tangible dip in my IQ.

I had to go and have a shower.

For those of you interested in the Team Sky/Chris Froome/Salbutamol story allow me to summarise the key arguments being thrashed out in the court of public opinion; I’ve been there so you don’t have to.

There are three key strands of debate:

  1. Haters gonna hate.
  2. Dopers gonna dope.
  3. Why don’t we just let due process play out (for the next eight months) and see where we are. Rules, etc. etc., regulations, blah, blah.

For me, though, none of these three options quite cut the mustard. The first two are a bit ranty, and the third one is quite dull. I favour secret option number four.

It’s all about the grey areas; always has been, always will be. What is doping? What isn’t doping? Where is the line? Who drew it? Why have so many cyclists got asthma?

For the fan, grey areas don’t solve anything, or answer anything, but rather offer a zen-like position of constant, tolerable uncertainty. Every great performance is tempered with the knowledge that something shady might be going on.

Or something shady might not be going on.

Forgive me for quoting myself:

50 shades of grey areas

If you see an exceptional performance and instantly deride it as implausible, impossible, and performance enhanced, then you’ve just wasted five hours of your life glued to a bike race that you conclude is meaningless.

If you watch an exceptional performance and instantly proclaim it clean, beyond dispute, then if that rider turns out be a doper at some later date you’re a fool.

So the solution is to exist in the grey areas.

To watch cycling in a permanent state of uncertainty. Willing to believe what your eyes see, and equally ready to face the prospect of a subsequent positive drugs test.

Which may seem fundamentally unsatisfying, but is preferable to the spectacle of many other sports (tip: probably more so the ones where people are very well paid), where there are no drugs in the sport.

Until someone test positive, in which case they are a bad person and are punished. The rest of the competitors can then get on with competing in a sport where there are no drugs.

I’m not saying this is ideal, but what’s the alternative?

The comments section at the bottom half of the internet?

Don’t go there.

(Image: By Jaguar MENA [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons)

8 comments on “Haters gonna hate, dopers gonna dope, Froome gonna Froome

  1. Rule #1 of not lowering your IQ on the internet: Never read the comments below a controversial or click bait style article… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m in the grey area for sure buddy. I am totally AWARE of the use of performance enhancers and the mechanical cheating, which goes on in most cases. I do NOT have a problem with it as a totality. I do have a problem with those who take peds and then CLAIM, they do not take peds! AND then go on to vilify those who have admitted to taking peds in the past. (froome being the best and most pompous jackass example)

    I refrain from using the word ‘dope’ or doping.
    That is typically reserved for illicit street drugs. We (as a society) really don’t call the abuse of prescription Oxycontin or any other scrip narcotics as ‘doping’ So, there is no need to call the use of steroids and hgh etc, as doping. It’s merely just a sensationalized media tactic.

    I do have a huge problem when the corrupted, criminal uci ALLOWS certain riders off the hook while suspending others. Arbitrary enforcement of rules through bribery and blackmail. hence the criminal behavior of the uci. The body should be dismantled and those at the top put in prison.

    As far as the ‘haters gonna hate’ mantra… it usually and always from those who have a lack of intelligence to utilize logic and reason- AND to actually address the issues. This is a classic deflection tactic by what I label as the fan-boy/girl muppet crowd. Everything is debated with emotional and psychological thought, rather than logical thought processes.

    I’ll keep saying it; mega dollar sports and the like, will always be compromised by the lack of or suppressing of moral and ethical behavior. The will to win is in-itself a powerful ‘drug’ Pro sports are JUST entertainment in the end. Folly. Yes, Athletes compete, they train, they commit, they give it their all. But the outcomes are often scripted or already played out. (sky has been dominate because of many reasons, but a crucial factor is their unprecedented stealth supplement programs. Brailsford is undoubtedly one of the worst sociopaths in the business. With Murdoch money, and a very powerful PR firm representing 21st Century and of course sky… their mission was made that much easier.

    Either legalize ped use with strict oversight, utilize the NFL’s blueprint, OR ban ALL of the riders and teams using. Oh wait, that might be 2/3 3/4 of the field… OOPS, can’t do that one! 😀
    The uci is not only corrupted and criminal, but really a bit stupid. Amazingly that some in such high positions can be well, so thoroughly under-educated. But that is one glaring trait of sociopathology…
    Let’s just hope that froome is suspended soon and brailsford steps down. Not for the ‘good of the sport’ but as a virtual SLAP in the face for these liars and massive hypocrites.


  3. You’re not reading this, are you?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Barnicle Bill

    If any significant number of the peloton are doped, one of the dopers is going to win. Period. Full stop.

    I see no evidence that WADA/UCI are one iota more effective at policing PEDs than they were in 2005. Even in the wake of the Pharmstrong confession — which was proof positive that the system is an abject failure — we have seen neither a dramatic uptick in positives nor a substantial decline in rider performance. You had to know that even if WADA had tightened up their system, the riders still were going to try to feel out the new limits, which should have precipitated at least a small spike in the positives. But that never came. Instead, we’ve got some riders putting out in excess 6 Watts/kg (the long-held theoretical “clean” limit) and still getting dropped. And other riders — such as Froome — knocking at the door of 7 Watts/kg. Now we’ve got mid-field riders with a (measured) higher output than Eddy Merckx had (calculated) in his heyday. Which likely means the doping is as pervasive and as undetected as it ever was.

    So if Froome is winning, and if there still is a significant degree of doping, then either Froome also is doping or shepherds and wise men brought gifts to his mother shortly after his birth, because nothing short of a miracle could enable a clean rider to outrun the dopers.


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