Kimmage unconvinced by Wiggins’ Tour win.

Kimmage questions Wiggins' Tour win.

 

Pauly K doesn’t trust Wiggo.

The great disbeliever of pro cycling Irish Journalist Paul Kimmage just isn’t quite willing to say Bradley Wiggins won the 2012 Tour de France without pharmaceutical aid.

First, what is it with those Irish journalists? You’ve got Kimmage and David Walsh, the original Armstrong Troll, in the top two places for cynicism and doubt. Nobody else is even close.

But back to disbelief because that’s how we start the new year, discounting everything we see. Kimmage told the German media — a receptive audience for all dope-related stories — that he just ins’t sure about the Jam-loving, vintage scooter-mad Wiggins.

“I don’t know,” he told the FAZ.net.  “If you apply the same standards to Tour winner Bradley Wiggins as to Lance Armstrong, concerning inquiries and logic, then there are similarities which are alarming.”

Kimmage points to the questionable past of Dr. Geert Leinders who was on Sky’s medical staff in 2011 and 2012. Leinders is alleged by Levi Leipheimer (among others) of having been a part of Rabobank’s doping program back when Levi was wearing orange and blue.

Pauly is also suspicious about the US Postal show of force by Wiggins’ own Sky squad in Le Grand Shindig. “You look at how dominant their teams were: Postal for Armstrong, Sky for Wiggins. They had a core of four, five riders, who rode strongly for those three weeks without one single weak day. You think: is that logical?”

Now, it should be public record that Kimmage doesn’t trust anyone. At the invitation of Jonathan Vaughters, he spent a recent Tour embedded with the team. Kimmage came away almost, nearly, possibly convinced that Garmin ran a clean program.

The Irishman is a born contrarian and really he can’t help himself. He wakes up on a sunny August morning unconvinced that the sun is out. He believes its some kind of solar charade or perhaps an elaborate trick by UCI president Patrick McQuaid to fry his skin.

Kimmage, the author of Rough Ride, calls two things into question: he didn’t seem to like the way Wiggins handled the doping question in the press and he questions how half the Sky team could be with Wiggins on the final climb.

Twisted Spoke thinks Kimmage doesn’t like it when riders appear to insult journalists. When Wiggins blew his stack and called his critics bone idle and ‘c**ts, that bothered Pauly. Is there no decorum left in the sanctity of the press conference room? Maybe Kimmage is still scarred from the verbal abuse Armstrong used to inflict.

Nevertheless, Wiggins addressed the doping issue with style and honesty later in the Tour. That might not have been enough for Kimmage who likes to take Sky’s Zero Tolerance even further. The man is sub-zero. In any case, we’re throwing out Kimmage’s first line of suspicion with is really based on his disappointment with Wiggins’ table manners.

Then there’s the issue of Sky’s dominance. Well, boredom might be a better word but we also discount Kimmage on this measure. The guys left with Wiggins on the last climb were all proven climbers — Froome, Rogers and Porte. We apply the Frankie Andreu test to this conundrum. Frankie was a rouler at US Postal, a guy for the flats. But when his wife watched him on TV pulling Lance over the Alps, she knew he was doped. Did anybody see Sky’s Bernie Eisel making Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans suffer on the final climb?

In the fallout of the USADA Reasoned Decision there’s a lot of self doubt and recrimination from journalists. The backlash has been pretty strong and people are going out of their way to prove how tough they are now on doping. Chapeaux all around. So whatever Saint Paul says, it going to carry some weight. But in Wiggins’ case, we’re not buying the skepticism.

We also have to remind ourselves that Wiggins came out of Garmin, which runs the most stringent and visionary internal doping-program in sports. Argyle genius Jonathan Vaughters is confident that Wiggins is as clean as Christophe Bassons.

Kimmage wrapped his interview with this zinger: “I don’t know anyone who could say that this was a fully convincing Tour win.” Well, put us at Twisted Spoke in the fully convinced camp.

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  • http://twitter.com/BoboFett3 Robert Olsen

    Other similarities: They both speak English, they both ride bikes, they are both male, they both won le Tour. The similarities are staggering. But in all seriousness, this dude was riding his legitimacy wave after the UCI lawsuit, the defense fund, and the whole Lance fiasco. But it seems he said eff that wave, I’m jumping off it and gonna start making crazy conspiracy theory accusations.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Robert, I have tremendous respect for Kimmage but I have to disagree on his Wiggins comments. Sometimes its not wrong to believe. Matt

  • Jorge

    The chances that Wiggins was clean in the 2012 tour is very low. If that is the case, all the top contenders on that tour were all clean. We know better, since that is impossible given the current state of affairs in cycling. Cycling is like any other complicated system, which do not change over night; there is too much inertia and bad incentives.

    I hope that the sport will change with more transparency and accountability. It is going to take several years before we see some true champions.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Jorge, I think there is plenty of micro dosing going on and lots of exciting new drugs to play with that can’t be tested. That said, if Ryder Hesjedal can win the Giro d’Italia, then we’ve come a long way. Matt

    • rikoshea

      Yes, Jorge, you’ve got it exactly right.

      In every Tour there are ~20 teams/team leaders out of which approximately 10 guys can aim for the overall win. The difference between the top guys is only marginal, about 1 or 2% (in terms of power per kg). We know that over the course of a 3 week Tour that the standard professional preparation of micro-dosing EPO and a couple of blood bags will give an athlete a 8-10% power improvement during the final week compared with the same athlete Paniagua. There’s no way a non-doped guy can compete with a doped guy during the Tour.

      If Wiggo didn’t dope then neither of the following boyos did either. If you believe that then I expect Santa left you a nice present this Christmas.

      FROOME Christopher
      NIBALI Vincenzo
      VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen
      VAN GARDEREN Tejay
      ZUBELDIA Haimar
      EVANS Cadel
      ROLLAND Pierre
      BRAJKOVIC Janez
      PINOT Thibaut
      KLÖDEN Andréas

      Kimage knows his sport and the mentality behind it. Gert Linders was obviously brought in to show the boys at Sky how to prepare professionally for a 3 week tour. I wonder if Brailsford can tell us what exactly where the terms of his dismissal and how much of a payoff (sorry severance) they gave him to go?

      • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

        You guys are scaring me. I think I better get back to watching ping pong or something. Matt

  • The SuperStorm

    PK has good reason to be suspicious of one BW, Brailsford, and the whole Sky unit. Can anyone say; “Mint Julip Julich”? The problemo of trust folks, is in the team ownership and sponsors whom want a win at any level and any way. Didn’t England look great with their cycling program at the Games? You bet they did. All for a price. Too bad the girls didn’t see the “Vos Boss” coming at them for gold on the road.

    Stil, very hard to tell what has been going on behind the scenes in GB. Probably similar to the good ‘ol US of A during the ’80′s, ’90′s, ’00′s and so on…

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      SuperStorm, you’re going dark on me, very dark. Like the Mint Julip tag, though. Let’s get back together in 10 years right here at Twisted Spoke and see if Kimmage and Walsh have discovered anything evil yet. Matt

  • vern

    ” ….Garmin, which runs the most stringent and visionary internal doping-program in sports.”
    Now that’s shocking. All this time I thought Garmin was anti-doping

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Vern, you got me good. Like I say about Twisted Spoke — come for the insightful and entertaining cycling commentary, stay for the typos. Matt

  • Higgins

    As much as I hate to sound serious on this site, here we have an example of why Armstrong survived so long.

    Kimmage has no evidence against Wiggins, and frankly is completely out of order questioning what was at worst a boringly efficient win using tactics and plain efficiency, rather than suspiciously brilliant athletic feats, and coming from a rider who stands as a proven talent over many years.

    To question this win without genuine reason creates a smokescreen behind which real cheats can hide, it muddies the water in which the nefarious can thrive.

    If Wiggins was so stoked, how did Froome drop him so fast?

    Wiggins won on a time-trialist friendly course, and the biggest question mark was whether team orders rather than talent won the day, not EPO.

    Kimmage seems unable to accept a win of any kind. I wonder whether he finds himself unwilling to applaud unvarnished talent, having made his name debunking success rather than achieving it.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      I believe Wiggins was clean and the Sky team dominance was based more on the sky-high payroll than anything else. Thanks for writing in. Matt

  • Crashdummy

    Hmmm, I think you have the white was out again.

    Couldn’t Wiggo’s 2012 leap in results and performance be considered in the “not normal” category and worth questioning? Could you say much the same for Froome over 11/12? Rogers…seriously! Surely there is smoke enough there to ask the question, and that’s from an Aussie.

    Go back and watch the race again and this time stay awake (if that’s possible) and you will see Bernie, Flecha and EBH dishing out the pain up and over some serious climbs before the climbing domestiques take over.

    Haven’t we learned this lesson already? Before you question Kimmage’s objectivity, claiming he is somehow hurt by being called a “c**t” (I don’t think his skin is that thin, Ref. UCI lawsuit), look objectively at the questions he has raised and the basis he sited.

    If there was nothing fishy at Sky then why would Brailsford see a significant proportion of his dream team from the 2012 tour eject after declaring zero tolerance? Could be a quiet year for Sky.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Crash, thanks for the thrashing. It was a good way to start the new year with a solid slap in the face. I’m a Wiggo believer and I don’t think Kimmage is doing anybody any favors by casting doubt without significant evidence. I don’t doubt ROgers was on the secret sauce in the past and of course we know about Julich but I just can’t question his win without something more to go on. Matt

    • Higgins

      What leap in performance? The year before he won the dauphine and narrowly missed a podium in the vuelta, having crashed in the tour..his outputs have not suddenly gone off the charts, he was performing to normal limits on a course friendly to a time trialist..with NO contador. Really, is this an amazing and suspicious performance?

    • Higgins

      Leap in performance and results? Looking at the results he had in 2011 shows he was already showing signs of improving on his 4th place in 2009, he crashed in the tour so we dont know how well he would have done otherwise…but he still managed 3rd in the Vuelta, so it wasnt a total disaster, and the results in 2012 werent off the scale; many commentators were predicting the result as soon as the course was published, especially in view of Contadors absence and Schlecks poor TT ability.
      A strong team like HTC and SKY is no evidence of cheating. Good results are no evidence of cheating. Get some perspective.

      • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

        Higgins, agreed. I’m a little surprised by all the doubters when it comes to Wiggins and Sky. Sure, they did demonstrate a near-Postal dominance and this was the year the Lance Legend was destroyed but give the man his due. Just being crabby about things doesn’t qualify as evidence. Matt

  • http://twitter.com/TheLastKm_Movie The Last Kilometer

    We prefer Gianni Mura’s position: “If a cyclist passes all the doping tests,
    for me he is in order. We’re not judges, we’re not medicians”

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Yes, its so italian, that position, Throw your hands up in the air, shrug the shoulders, what can we do? No sense of responsibility. Matt

  • http://twitter.com/SJF102 Steve Farndale

    Not being close to cycling and having not been watching for very long, I find it disturbing that A:) There’s such a history/mentality/acceptance of doping in the sport in general. The governing body is unlike any i’ve seen before *what is McQuaid doing?* Going on the assumption that track cycling is fairly clean if not completely and DB is the head coach of GB cycling then it would be fair to make the same assumption that the Sky outfit is clean as well. I find it hard to believe that someone (anyone) could dope in a team and other people not know about it. I’m not saying that the new youngster in the team would know if a “star” was doping but bet ya bottom the top bloke knows and it’s all a matter of trust. I trust DB and SkyProCycling (i HATE SkyTV) even if PK thinks he knows otherwise he needs to get the proof out there or shut up. I’d like to believe i’m watching a CLEAN sport

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Kimmage is going to have to produce more than a “suspicion” for me to discount the SKy victory. Wiggins is not Armstrong and Sky is not Postal. Matt

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Theobald/1185398739 Larry Theobald

    Wasn’t Kimmage supposed to hang around with SKY like he did Garmin, until Wiggo nixed the deal? What did he have to hide? Why did SKY come round to the “can the dopers” policy only AFTER their TdF win, despite running their mouths about how clean they were from the start? I’m with Paul, far from ready to proclaim a team bankrolled by Rupert Murdoch as a positive example for the sport.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Larry, I love Wiggins, not crazy about the whole bank-rolled SKy machine. But I do think he’s clean. Am I crazy and fooled again? I’d hate to think a guy who loves the Mods would sell me out. Matt