Such was the thunderstorm of emotions rumbling about in the immediate aftermath of Meath’s recent loss to Dublin, comment was refrained from. So shall it remain, other than to suggest that some of what was uttered would’ve been better left unsaid. Similar sentiments could equally be administered to other sports lately also. Now read on…
The sense that if something looks too good to be true it generally is can take serious effort to unshackle from. Undoubtedly, it’s an apt dictum for a large swathe of life. Regrettably, it has also become a useful adjective to elaborate on happenings which provoke uneasy feelings of dubiousness among onlookers.
Cycling now surely has such forlorn feelings about the nefarious and repugnant behaviour of Lance Armstrong which corroded the sport so. Or at least that’s what one would assume – not to mention hope. Alas, it appears that for all the public pronouncements of abhorrence and window dressing exercises were just a means to serenade sceptics with what their ears desired.
What else to conclude upon hearing that many would like to see the reprehensible purveyor of serial shame have his seven Tour De France titles restored onto him? Nauseating revulsion would best describe the feelings for yours truly upon hearing Armstrong brazenly attempt to foist reasoning for his own wrongdoing to a medical condition.
As someone who’d willingly sacrifice the one working arm or eye for the opportunity to partake in any sport, to see someone who – even allowing for the scurrilous nature of his behaviour – evidently had a sizable quota of natural talent – even try to assert that he had to use prohibited substances is utterly bile inducing.
Of course, Lance’s own doping was only part of the story. A story that may – horrifyingly for the good of cycling, and indeed all sports – have gone untold were it not for the courage and tenacity of David Walsh and Paul Kimmage. However, never forget that, apart from using banned stuff himself, he also invoked his bullying personality in attempts to intimidate and manipulate others into allowing his falsity go undisturbed.
Doubtless, those behind the recent Rough Ride documentary depicting what could justifiably termed Kimmage’s obsession with the darker side of cycling were somewhere between wryly smiling and shaking their heads in bewilderment at the notion of the figure who inflicted the biggest stain on cycling even being offered redress.
If one had a quibble with the programme, it could be that Walsh wasn’t also included in the subject matter. Short odds would probably be offered on such a film being aired at some stage. And what viewing that’d be. For now, though, the two journalists – as well as anyone who assumed admonishing Armstrong amounted to an end of the sordidness in cycling – must now be scratching their noggins in disillusionment.
That the temerity exists to even countenance restoration of ill-gotten gains to a pariah that tarnished an entire sport deduces the unfortunate conclusion that the chains of reality therein evidently require greasing. Noting that the former head of the UCI was among those unashamedly championing the restoration bid is another sickening twinge to the gut of those who at least hoped Brian Cookson’s new broom would sweep clean.
The question arises, mind you, as to why the opinion of Cookson’s predecessor would even be courted, let alone given an airing. Shady dealings only ensue when those in a position to stop transgressions stand idly by. Thereby rendering themselves complicit in dodgy behaviour. Uncomfortable as it may be, that complicity pertained under the old regime was no shock.
On the other hand, that revered former members of the peloton – both close to home and on a much bigger scale – also rowed in with the redemption mission feels far more disconcerting. Especially given the inclination that some of the ‘Let bygones be bygones’ brigade might be far less forthcoming if dirty linen from elsewhere were to get a public wash.
More disappointingly, it attracts the feeling that the cloud enveloping cycling is becoming a never ending story – if it hasn’t done so already. Fundamentally more serious, though, is the challenge facing the sport’s current leadership in how they deal with this unedifying mess. Said response will be extremely telling, on a lot of levels.
Developments will be awaited with interest regarding how the present leadership react. Hardly with baited breath, however.