A fan’s take on Hincapie, Armstrong, Tyler and Floyd.

Bad blood

Every cycling journalist, sports writer and even talk show host Oprah Winfrey have given their opinions of the dark, doped years when Lance ruled the peloton. Hundreds of experts, anti-doping people, federation heads, the UCI, WADA and CNN, you name it.

We’ve all made our judgements on those riders and that time in pro cycling. But we rarely hear the voice of the ordinary fans. Here’s a fan who Twisted Spoke thinks captures the disappointment and sadness; it’s eloquent and honest and sums up the magnitude of the loss.

The following long quote comes from Dave Blass and he posted it on the Hincapie website shortly after Big George admitted to being a big doper. (We used his quote at the end of a Cycle Sport magazine story we wrote on Hincapie’s retirement. After the Oprah & Armstrong show, it still feels like something we should all read.

“I remember watching with tears in my eyes as you (Hincapie – ed) won stage 15 of the 2005 TdF. You, Lance, Tyler, Floyd… you were my heroes. You inspired me to ride, to travel to France, to climb the epic mountains that you all did… and here we are, many years later. Heroes are all fallen, dreams tainted.
I don’t know if your admission makes it better or worse. I believe that it was your hearts that made you all race and succeed, not the PEDs, but nevertheless… the memories of those great events are tarnished. Lance riding through the field, Tyler grinding his teeth down, you battling the cobbles, conquering Saint–Lary-Soulan, or riding over the huge HINCAPIE I painted on Alpe de Huez.
Those were some of my favorite moments in sport — now how should we remember them? It’s horrible what you guys had to do in order to make a living in the sport. But it’s also crappy that a decade of that sport that we love is now lost in the mosh pit of lies and uncertainty.
We’ll never know who won those races or what you all would have be capable of had the wrong choices not been made. That is truly the saddest part of this. You (Hincapie – Ed) were one of the greatest American Cyclists of all time and hopefully you will be remembered that way, however I don’t know how anyone comes out of this clean.”
Chapeau, Mr. Blass.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email
  • MMRE

    I don’t really like to remind people of this, but these people are entertainers. We get memories because we were entertained and inspired. I had a great time watching each of these things happen, I had a great time getting out on my bike and sharing in the excitement of the racing action. In the long run you should never have heroes that you don’t know personally, or at least you should limit your reasons for having them as a hero. Lance is a hero because he used his position to help fight cancer. My dad is a hero to me for all the great things he has done and all the people he helped.

    Racing is still entertaining, maybe just not as personal when you can’t put them on pedestals.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      MMRE, it’s always a good reminder not to put people on pedestals. Really, that’s an old Greek thing we should have stopped ages ago. Matt

  • bumpermeat

    For me, successful cyclists provided a bit of inspiration whilst playing “weekend warrior” or trying to improve on a PB on the ride home from the office. Am I disappointed the athletes I once revered are less than perfect. Of course. Am I surprised, nope. Famous & successful does not equal flawless.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Bumper, again, we applaud your logic. I go back to the famous and brilliant NIKE commercial for NBA basketball star Charles Barkley. The first line he says is, “I am not a role model.” Says it all. Matt

  • The SuperStorm

    This poor sap Blass. What did he expect?

    Let me digress. I guess I never saw the Posties, Discoverer’s, or any of the other teams and individuals from the late 80′s to today as role models. Because as a former man of the peloton, I could see the changes going on earlier. I guess I was lucky. It allowed me to see these clowns for whom they were. Cheats. Roche (Doper?), Visentini (Doper?), Chiapucci (Confirmed Doper), Cippollini (Confirmed Doper?), Indurain (Doper?), Riis (Confirmed Doper), Ullrich (Confirmed Doper), Pantani (Confirmed Doper), Armstrong (Confirmed Doper), Periero (Clean?), Schleck (Doper?), Contador (Confirmed Doper), Evans (Clean?) and Wiggins (Clean?). To quote Laurent Fignon from his book; whom himself was ashamed after being caught using amphetamines in ’87 said: “The Golden Age of Cycling was now at an end.” Lemond said it best when retiring from the ’92 Tour: “I just can’t keep up with these guys anymore.”

    The time of heroes has passed for now. This is the time for the “business” of the sport of cycling. Sponsors and corporate heads demanding more and more. Bicycle manufacturers looking for an edge in a dwindling market share with higher profits. There’s no artistry. There’s no pomp, no pageantry. Just a sterilized, homogenized, and prioritized shell of a once great sport. Who will be the ones who change the sport for the better? Whom will bring back the pomp, artistry, and pageantry? They’re out there. Those whom may or may not win, but are among the field of many, training hard, preparing and dreaming, that for one day, just one day, they may ride with the legacies of the cyclists of truth before them and might just wear; The Maglia Rosa, The Maillot Jaune, The Camisa Roja, or the Five Colors of a World Champion.

    Who will they be? Heroes…

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Joe Dombrowski, BABY! He’s the next Hero. Believe it! And bring back Angelo Zomegnan — there was a man who understood pomp and spectacle. Matt

  • roadking

    The first thing a thief has to do when he gets caught is give back the goods / money. Then his punishment is decided.
    These cheats feel that just giving back the money is too much punishment (and this is clearly stolen money). We (the fans) would have enjoyed just as much action and drama if all of the riders had been clean. Thanks for the entertainment. Now give back all of the money (Lance, George, and the rest) and let’s talk about your punishment.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      I will be fascinating to see how much money Lance eventually has to pay back. A crazy story in and of itself. Matt