Blogs & Opinion


Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Cem Takaci on Making his mark

"Hi Guillem, all of this hype sourounding jose mourinho and the saying that the wave is swinging for real madrid right now. But once Jose leaves and it does seem that he will if not this... " View all comments

Gary Bennett on Reading crashers

"Leeds have thrown away too many games this season with our dodgy defence conceding too many soft goals.Scoring goals has not been a problem and i think the play offs are still there to ... " View all comments

Stuart Mcdermott on The thin blue line

"Jamie, superb article as always! I have to say that, as always, you're spot on. Arsenal have no momentum going into the last 5 games and i can't see them getting the results they ... " View all comments

Siyavuya Zamxaka on Awesome foursome

"wonderfull column as always...I think Madrid have a better chance of winning the Cup game in all of these 4 games. This is because Mourinho can play any system and not worry about how ... " View all comments

Trevor Fuller on Running on empty

"Hi Phil, Another interesting & thought-provoking article here! One thing I'd like to know is, if you compare this situation currently with clubs in the NRL in Australia or New ... " View all comments

Joe Rose on It's handy Carroll!

"I'm a big fan Chris, great column as usual. I'm one of many happy baggies fan, who are hailing Roy Hodgson for the work he has done. Firstly under Di Matteo we played good football but ... " View all comments

All at sea

Cycling has a crisis of leadership, says Richard Moore

Opinion Posted 25th September 2012 view comments

It takes a special kind of talent to overshadow your flagship event with the kind of bombshell that comes straight from the Gerald Ratner school of PR.

But that is what happened last week, when the UCI world road championships coincided with the news that a journalist, Paul Kimmage, is being sued by Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen, respectively the president and honorary president of cycling's world governing body.

Pat McQuaid: president of the UCI

Pat McQuaid: president of the UCI

Kimmage is accused of having been 'dishonest' in a couple of interviews, in which he charged the UCI with "having knowingly tolerated [positive drugs] tests, of being dishonest people, of not having a sense of responsibility, of not applying the same rules to everyone." McQuaid and Verbruggen are seeking 8,000 Swiss francs in damages, and want Kimmage to take out full-page apologies in the Sunday Times, for which he used to work, and L'Equipe.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the UCI action against Kimmage, who has consistently written about and exposed doping in cycling, is what it says about their priorities.

Richard Moore
Quotes of the week

The action against Kimmage was mooted some time ago, but news of his summons by a Swiss court, where he is due to appear on December 12, was met with bemusement, turning quickly to widespread anger. By the end of the week there was a groundswell of opposition as fans of the sport rallied to his support and established a defence fund that, at the time of writing, has raised over $20,000.

Coincidence

It may have been a coincidence that McQuaid was booed when he stepped up to present the medals at the end of the men's road race, or it may have been the verdict of a large section of the crowd on his tenure as president.

What is certain is that both that and the defence fund, not to mention the reaction on social media, amount to a resounding vote of no confidence in McQuaid, Verbruggen - president of cycling's governing body from 1991-2005, and an honorary member of the IOC - and the UCI.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the UCI action against Kimmage, who has consistently written about and exposed doping in cycling, is what it says about their priorities.

After all, you would have thought that the Lance Armstrong case, with the US Anti-Doping Agency's contention that he doped to win his seven Tours de France, and their decision to strip him of those titles, might be worthy of the governing body's full attention.

In an interview in L'Equipe on Monday, the head of the USADA, Travis Tygart, said that the file containing the evidence against Armstrong and the US Postal Service team will be with the UCI by the end of the month - meaning this week.

It will be interesting to hear their response, in particular to the allegations made by Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis that Armstrong tested positive for EPO in 2001, but colluded with the authorities to have it suppressed. Shortly after, Armstrong made two financial donations, totalling $125,000, to the UCI. Some have alleged a link.

Whether or not that is the case, few can now be in much doubt about the pervasiveness of the doping culture in professional road cycling in the 1990s and into the 2000s. The crucial questions are, how much did the UCI know, and how much are they to blame?

During his 14 years as president of the UCI, Verbruggen could seem ambivalent, at best, on the subject of doping. When riders spoke out - an early example being Kimmage, a professional in the 1980s who wrote about the drug-taking culture in his book, Rough Ride - Verbruggen tended to dismiss them.

"They are the outspoken statements of frustrated people," he said of two such riders, Gilles Delion and Graeme Obree, when they claimed in the mid-1990s that doping was the norm rather than the exception.

Yet in Armstrong Verbruggen has consistently expressed absolute confidence, asserting as recently as last year that he had "never, never, never" doped. Why such faith in Armstrong and so little in Delion and Obree?

Fearless

Reading Hamilton's book, The Secret Race, reinforces a sense that Armstrong, whether protected by those in power or not, certainly felt invulnerable. It perhaps says something about his character, too, but, according to Hamilton, Armstrong was fearless when it came to doping, as in so much else.

It might also tie in with the sense that, by the early 2000s, as the Armstrong story of conquering cancer and winning the Tour captured the world's attention, attracting hordes of new fans, he began to transcend his sport.

By 2004, and his sixth Tour, he seemed bigger than the Tour and bigger than cycling. Arguably the sport now needed him more than he needed the sport: a situation fraught with danger for any sport

Yet, equally, there is now a danger that the discussion focuses too much on Armstrong, the obsessional champion who has, rather neatly, become an object of obsession for so many. He looms on almost every page of Hamilton's book as a commanding figure who inspires fear, awe, revulsion and even some admiration, yet it seems that Hamilton has won redemption, verging on beatification, less for being honest about his own drug-taking than for providing so much damning information about his former teammate.

It is conveniently overlooked that Hamilton was doping before and after he was a teammate of Armstrong; indeed, that his own doping became even more sophisticated, more hardcore, after leaving Armstrong's team.

Hamilton himself has said that it is not all about Armstrong; that Armstrong, like him, was part of a system, even if he became the most powerful player within it.

Which brings us back, in a roundabout way, to the UCI. In an interview with L'Equipe on Monday, Tygart pointed out the inherent problem in sports policing themselves, and the scandals - from athletics after Ben Johnson in the 1980s, to cycling and the rampant use of EPO in the 1990s, to tennis, football and rugby - that have led, at best, to conflicts of interest and states of collective denial, and, at worst, to cover-ups and corruption.

"We either bury this case or we do our job," said Tygart, adding: "We do this because the federations can't do it. It's contradictory to promote the sport and be in a position to sanction the athletes at the same time."

The truth of this was borne out at the world championships in Holland last week, as the UCI staged their showcase event and justified their legal action against an anti-doping journalist, while having remarkably little to say about the revelations concerning widespread, systematic cheating, and the star whose mythology helped cycling leap from the backwaters into the mainstream.

Twitter.com/richardmoore73

Comments (2)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Paul Gardner says...

Great article Richard,UCI have built there house on sand and one day that house will fall down and i believe that day is coming soon.Paul Kimmage fight against doping will be successful and i hope is lauded as the saviour of pro cycling,he has spent most of his life fighting on his own against doping in cycling.

Posted 11:53 27th September 2012

Cathal Fol says...

Just goes to show where McQuaid's priorities are. He is a disgrace and will get found out.

Posted 17:22 25th September 2012

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Add Comment*

Send us your views

Are you a Sky Sports subscriber?

*All fields required, your email address will be kept private

back to top

Other Experts:

Latest Posts in :

Alex Ferguson

Clowney's no joke

US sports expert Alex Ferguson profiles Jadeveon Clowney, the biggest defensive pick of the draft....

Alex Ferguson

King James reigns

Alex Ferguson celebrates a wacky, smile-inducing year in US sport - and salutes Miami's LeBron James....

comments

Alex Ferguson

Start your engines!

Alex Ferguson predicts who will triumph in NASCAR's showpiece race, the Daytona 500....

comments

Alex Ferguson

A perfect union?

Alex Ferguson looks at the possible unionisation of college football and how he would handle the issue....

Alex Ferguson

Call of the century

Spacemen Portland pick Bowie over Jordan - Alex Ferguson ranks the biggest decisions in US Sport....

comments

Alex Ferguson

Independence aces

Alex Ferguson kicks off his Independence Day fun by picking his 20 best bits of American sport....

comments

Jamie Redknapp

Toffees come unstuck

Man Utd's men with a point to prove can take advantage of Everton's midweek blow, says Jamie Redknapp....

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Paul Merson says Liverpool WON'T beat Norwich - and Chelsea and Man City will close the gap....

Ed Chamberlin

Van the man?

Ed Chamberlin explains why Tejay van Garderen is capable of plucking the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey....

comments

Jamie Carragher

Bruce almighty

Steve Bruce deserves a mention when this year's managerial awards are handed out, says Carra....

Dewi Morris

Heart and soul

Dewi Morris looks at a crucial weekend in the Championship as we head towards the play-offs....

Stuart Barnes

Ups and downs

Stuart Barnes says the drama of relegation must be kept in rugby, but the play-offs need changing....

Phil Clarke

To Hull and back

Phil Clarke looks at the mental damage done to Hull FC and Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup....

Bob Willis

Away for a while

Bob Willis thinks Jonathan Trott will be absent from England duty for some time following his latest setback....

Rob Lee

Pinky and perky

Rob Lee blogs on his vivid Masters Breakfast attire and the men that made waves at Augusta National....

Paul McGinley

Joy for Jonas?

Jonas Blixt has the short game and heart to win the Masters at Augusta, says Paul McGinley....

0 comments

Barry Cowan

Heavy burden

Great Britain's best Davis Cup since 1986 fails to mask their reliance on Andy Murray, says Barry Cowan....

Barry Cowan

No force without Fab

Britain's Davis Cup quarter-final with Italy rests on the fitness of Fabio Fognini, says Barry Cowan...

Alex Hammond

Just Cause

Alex Hammond reveals her tips for the Irish Grand National and the Good Friday races at Lingfield....

Alex Hammond

Going the distance

Marathon entrant Alex Hammond previews the Newbury action and Scottish National meeting at Ayr....

Alex Hammond

Rocky's road

Alex Hammond explains why she is backing Rocky Creek and Lion Na Bearnai at the Grand National....

Jim Watt

Quigg as a flash

If he can control the pace Scott Quigg should see off challenger Tshifhiwa Munyai, says Jim Watt....

Johnny Nelson

The best of friends

It will be tough but Johnny Nelson expects mates Anthony Crolla and John Murray to serve up a classic....

Glenn McCrory

Manny happy returns

Manny Pacquiao is back to his best and could yet get it on with Floyd Mayweather, says Glenn McCrory....

View from America

Desperate deals?

Simon Veness reviews a crazy week in the NFL's free agent frenzy, as sides splash out over $1bn....

comments

Neal Foulds

Trump tip

Ronnie O'Sullivan is favourite for the Worlds - but Judd Trump could spring a shock, says Neal Foulds....

Neal Foulds

Night at the Circus

Neal Foulds is looking forward to another fun, raucous Snooker Shoot-Out - but can't pick a winner....

comments

Neal Foulds

Simply the best?

Five-time Masters champion Ronnie O'Sullivan may be the best snooker player ever, says Neal Foulds....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

The contenders

Kelvin Tatum runs through the teams and riders ahead of the 2014 Elite League Speedway season....

Kelvin Tatum

Kelvin's 2013 Review

Kelvin Tatum salutes Poole's hierarchy and Tai Woffinden in his round-up of the speedway season....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Rich re-Ward

Poole, and the dynamic Darcy Ward, will wrap up the Elite League title at Perry Barr, says Kelvin Tatum....

comments

Richard Moore

The final curtain

Richard Moore reflects on Sunday's Closing Ceremony to an unforgettable Olympic Games......

comments

Richard Moore

A lasting golden glow

Richard Moore suggests all the British Olympians should visit schools and talk about their experiences....

comments

Richard Moore

Favourite Froome

Richard Moore reveals his predictions for the 100th Tour de France, which starts on Saturday....

comments

Wayne McCullough

Wonderful Davis

Wayne McCullough watched Antonio Rogerio Nogueria take on Phil Davis at UFC Fight Night 24. ...

0 comments

Wayne McCullough

Jones shines bright

Wayne McCullough was highly impressed as the talented Jon Jones made short work of Mauricio Rua....

2 comments

Wayne McCullough

A bloody marvel

Wayne McCullough salutes Diego Sanchez as he edges out Martin Kampmann in a UFC humdinger....

0 comments