I have great respect for Paul Kimmage. He was one of the first professional cyclists to ‘lift the lid’ and speak about the culture of doping. For his efforts he was widely condemned and ostracised by the procycling community who closed ranks and denied doping was a problem. It’s taken innumerable doping scandals, failed dope tests, and admissions by champion cyclists for cycling to admit what everyone knew but was reluctant to say. In fact, Paul Kimmage’s revelations in a rough ride seemed relatively mild compared to the industrial and scientific doping levels of the 1990s and 2000s.
The re-emergence of Lance Armstrong on the pro scene has re-awakened many of these old issues. It has been exacerbated by the return of many failed dopers back into the peleton. I can’t hide by sense of disappointment that so many cyclists convicted of cheating have been welcomed back into the peleton as if they had just made an ‘honest mistake’. The problem is that failed dope tests are just the tip of the iceburg, we had so many confessions from cyclists who never failed dope tests (e.g. Bjanne Riis, David Miller) that the limitations of doping controls are still relevant.
Following Paul Kimmage’s questioning of Lance Armstrong at the recent tour of California, he has been getting a tough time in the American Media. It seems the American media have little time for awkward questions. But, this isn’t just a cycling issue, it can also be seen in the attitude to doping in sports like baseball and American football.
Everyone is a mixture of good and bad and Lance Armstrong has definitely done some good things. But, on the issue of doping, he has always disappointed me. Be it chasing down Fillipo Simeoni, working with Michael Ferrari or his acceptance of dopers and dislike of those who tried to get rid of doping.
Lance Armstrong and doping