Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Time Out From Writing About Running

I got into an interesting Twitter exchange with one of the editors of Velo News (who was, I believe, speaking for himself, not necessarily the publication) after I had commented on a story that discussed the disparity in punishment for those 'caught' cheating in the TDF.  The article had pointed out that Lance Armstrong was treated more harshly than other riders.   That is a fair statement.  But I had pointed out that it was reported that he had also attacked those who had accused him in such a way, and with a vehemence, that surpassed others in the sport who were using PEDs at the time. I think that the manner of denial does have an effect on the way a punishment gets handed out.  Maybe it should.  Perhaps it shouldn't.  But a strong denial proven false does affect our emotional response.

To continue this train of thought: Suppose a gang has been defrauding a bank for years.  Due to a technicality, the statute of limitations (that has run out on the imaginary crime) is eliminated for one of the miscreants. That person is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  This perpetrator is still guilty whether the rest of the gang gets penalized or skates on the charges.  Are they all being treated fairly?  After all, they all did it.  And they were all subject to the same statutes. An argument can actually be made either way.

For the record, I am in favor of going back as far as possible to try to get to the bottom of the mess that seemingly overwhelmed the sport.  Cycling's governing bodies should be about fairness, even if all of its riders were not.  Lance, Tyler, Joseba, Jan, Floyd, and many, many more, held our dreams on their wheels and then ripped our hearts out.  Honest brokers like the Andreaus and others who questioned both rider and team integrity were dismissed by the cycling sports media.  Undoubtedly, many clean riders of the era were denied victories, or even spots on teams for some of the world's top tours.  We should set the record straight for them, and worry less about the feelings of those who weren't competing honestly.

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