In his new book on pro cycling, retired pro Phil Gaimon repeated an old rumor: that superstar classics rider Fabian Cancellara probably had a motor in his bike when he won the Tour of Flanders, flying past a powerful Tom Boonen like the Belgian was pedaling with only one leg.
That bit of click bait promptly went viral on every cycling website, twitter feed, facebook page and fan chat forum. Sales of Gaimon’s book probably jumped a few dollars and Cancellara’s lawyers predictably insisted on an apology and pulling the scurrilous book off the shelves.
Which isn’t going to happen. Gaimon will waste some money on his own lawyer and nothing of consequence will happen and we’ll all move on to the next click bait appetizer. That’s the internet, so vast, so shallow.
But Twisted Spoke has seen the original, first daft of the book, before his publishing house legal staff gave it a close eye and cut out the inflammatory statements.
Here’s a quick peek at the stuff that never made it into the book:
Alberto Contador once ate a steak filled with the banned substance Clenbuterol. Yup, shocking but true.
Lance Armstrong cheated to win his seven Tour de France titles. Did Floyd Landis not know about this? Was Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie in the dark? This is crazy stuff — Armstrong doped? Sounds like a rumor to me. Lance has a ton of lawyers so all I can say is Phil, get out of the country ASAP.
There was this Italian doctor — in Italy, of all places — that wasn’t honest and in fact doped a bunch of riders. His name is Michele Ferrari. I bet Ferrari is going to sue Gaimon anyway just because I spilled the dirty beans. Sorry, Phil, we need our click bait here at Twisted Spoke.
In fact, in a long passage in Draft Animals, Gaimon details an entire doping network run by a Spanish veterinarian. Guys like Valverde, Ivan Basso and Jorg Jaksche were storing their blood and drugs. Can you imagine? Blood in bags in refrigerators like it was tomato juice. Gaimon blew the lid off that but it was apparently so incendiary that his lawyers insisted he take it out. Crazy stuff, no doubt — Basso and Valverde would probably sue his ass.
In another chapter, Gaimon reveals that apparently teams like T-Mobile, Phonak, Kelme and Team CSC had an organized doping program. Yes, that’s quite an accusation and Gaimon may be on dangerous and shaky legal grounds here. You can image how many retractions and lawsuits that would have caused. Phil made the right call on leaving that stuff out.
But those are pretty old accusations compared to what Gaimon also had in the first draft of Draft Animals. In chapter seven, he claims that he once saw Marcel Kittel’s mechanic pour liquid from a bottle labelled “rocket fuel” into the German’s seat tube. Wow, what was THAT all about, huh?
Later in the book, he claims to have heard that Chris Froome is half bionic. That Sky manager David Brailsford convinced Froome to undergo a radical procedure to replace half his body with lighter carbon and titanium components. In fact, Gaimon insists that Froome has a small battery implanted under his right armpit. Sure seems like that’s something UCI president David Lappartient could easily investigate.
Finally, near the end of the book, Gaimon drops another bombshell: Vincenzo Nibali isn’t Italian and that he spends his off-season in an opium den somewhere in Southeast Asia.
Yes, Phil Gaimon’s Draft Animals sure exposes the dirty side of doping that we didn’t even know existed. Thank’s Phil. We’ll look forward to the next book when you put the stuff in that your lawyers cut out of Draft Animals.