Hear no see no Vino !

Like many cycling fans the world over I spent a number of hours glued to the TV yesterday watching the final Ardennes classic of the year Liege Bastogne Liege . The highlight of the race for me was Philippe Gilbert’s attack on the Cote de Saint Nicolas when he rocketed away from a glass-cranking Alejandro Velverde and mid week winner of Fleche Wallone , World Champion Cadel Evans , whilst the low point was when Alexander Vinokourov crossed the line first .

Philippe Gilbert of Belgium climbs La Redoute hill during the Liege-Bastogne-Liege Classic cycling race in Ans

Why is it that the sight of the super aggressive , super motivated Vino taking such a monumental victory is such a huge disappointment to cycling fans the World over ? The easy answer is that he was caught doping , served a two year suspension and is now back racing as good as ever . But there’s more to it than that .

Since January he has been doing seven hour training rides with over five thousand meters of climbing , more than probably any other rider . He is in superb form winning the Giro del Trentino  mid-week , a race where two other riders returning from doping suspensions Ivan Basso and Ricardo Ricco also performed well on the bike . They have all done the crime and served the time .

Vino is responsible for the whole Astana set up as the Kasak sponsorship deal is built around their national sporting hero and only winner of an olympic medal , and will line up alongside Alberto Contador at the tour in July . This just doesn’t sit right .

Vino has always denied all doping allegations , although he did say in the post race press conference yesterday that he wanted to prove that he could race clean by winning .

David Millar is held up as an example to all as a rider who experimented with doping , admitted it ( after epo was found in his home ) , and is now on the board of WADA . He is looked upon similar to a reformed smoker , someone who used to smoke forty a day but now that they have given up can’t stand to be in the same Town as a smoker .

Vino gets booed , but Millar is a Hero , why , because he admitted that he cheated , but there are still many cycling fans who will never forgive him .

Tiger Woods cheated on his wife with fourteen other women , went on TV gave a plastic apology and was treated like a hero upon his return to the US Masters last month . At the end of the day , a cheat is a cheat . Whether it’s cheating on your wife or taking drugs to win a race or a competition it all shows a weakness of character and lack of respect for others .

Sportsmanship was always seen as a badge of honour , no attacking through a feedzone , no attacking the yellow jersey if he suffers a mechanical or  crash . No short cuts , on or off the bike . It shows a strength of character and honesty , a sign of someone we can all look up to . A hero !

Watching a cycling race , whether it be on TV or on the side of the road can be a fantastic experience for any fan . Your pulse races when a rider puts in a possible race winning attack , you subconsciously push your foot into the floor as if it were you trying to squeeze that extra ounce of power into the pedals . You lean into the corners with your rider and throw your arms up into the air when he crosses the line . It’s personal .

If you hear a few weeks later that he has tested positive , that’s personal too . You are gutted and feel betrayed and let down .

That’s what makes cycling fans different . It is personal . And that is why there is hope for cycling above all other sports . People talk about drugs in cycling as if it were the only sport with a problem . It is one of the only sports doing something about the problem ! Young riders see how vilified the likes of Vinokourov are , even when they win races . This is a great thing . It is not a case of hear no evil , see no evil , lets all welcome back our hero . It is more like ‘ you cheated on us , we don’t care about your money or fame , now pack your bags and get out ‘ .



8 thoughts on “Hear no see no Vino !

  • April 26, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Another great blog post Barry. Essentially you’ve put down in words what I, and I’m sure loads of people around the world, were feeling yesterday. I turned off Liege-Bastogne-Liege just after they passed under the kite. I couldn’t stand watching that … thing … cross the line. I could really do with a week of no cycling on TV.

    • April 26, 2010 at 8:54 am

      Even the tv coverage ended pretty quickly Shane and @spokesmen ‘s comment on Twitter summed it up well although he couldn’t say it on air ‘bollocks’

  • April 26, 2010 at 9:00 am

    well said barry, at least basso is not at the level he was at but this fecker is stronger than ever. The Giro del Trentino was a dopers race and so was LBL bad week for cycling

    • April 26, 2010 at 8:56 pm

      And that race in Italy didn’t have Mr. Valv.piti or his dog John . Not a good way to end what’s been a great early season of racing .

  • April 26, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Another great article Barry. (Ever considered journalism?) But how many of our ‘hero’s’ from the past have got away with remaining ‘hero’s’ because they are long retired or more to the point had their results covered up?

    I’m glad the sport is cleaner but I’m sure you competed against guys on drugs – I know I did – I even saw them taking them. I finished second so many times and lost places on teams to those guys who were ‘juiced up’ it still makes me mad as they are still involved in the sport and regarded as legends of Ireland and beyond. I think I maybe took two vitamin C tablets instead of one one day.

    Vino served his time so let him race – if he tests positive again – shoot him!

  • April 26, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Best post so far barry! Its the fact that he was caught and didn’t just come out and say, ‘alright, sorry. You caught me and wont happen again.’ But he denied it. And the fact that he has come back and won L-B-L leaves huge ???s in the O’Gorman household!!

  • April 26, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Read the list below on cyclingnews.com yesterday morning at 7 am and decided not to watch L B L.


    The winners list for L B L since 1999 reads as follows;

    2010 – A. Vinokourov
    2009 – A. Schlek
    2008 – A. Valverde
    2007 – D. Di Luca
    2006 – A. Valverde
    2005 – A. Vinokourov
    2004 – D. Rebellin
    2003 – T. Hamilton
    2002 – P. Bettini
    2001 – O. Camenzind
    2000 – P. Bettini
    1999 – F. Vandenbroucke

    If someone makes the conscious decision to dope they also have the choice not to. So once they have had one chance to make a decision and they make the wrong one, then they should pay the consequences.

    But the penalties don’t fit the crime………


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *