Doping, punching, slashing, cheating and dirty secrets.

CyclingTips most read stories 2016

CyclingTips most read stories 2016

That sounds like a mini-vocabulary for pro cycling, doesn’t it? We got a small pop of amusement when we read the CyclingTips story about their top ten most read stories of 2016.

When you read the top ten, you realize for the millionth time that we’re not fans of a normal sport. If this was American pro football, I would guess the top story would be some article about the Super Bowl. If you follow pro soccer, perhaps it would be a story on the Olympic or World Cup soccer final.

Ahh, but cycling? Well, the most read story on CyclingTips website didn’t have anything to do with the Giro d’Italia or Paris-Roubaix or the Olympic Road Race. The Tour de France made an appearance but in a covert fashion.

Nope, the top stories were about mechanical doping, a particular mystery cheater on Strava, a former pro’s mission to wipe out mystery cheater’s Strava records, Chris Froome punching a spectator, Peter Sagan not shaving his legs and a pro complaining about a disc brake rotor slicing his leg open.

Is that not just a little bizarre when you step back and really think about the implications? What does that kind of subject matter say about the sport?

Should we be mortified that these are the click bait winners of our sport? The must-reads, the highlights, the most representative sports stories in cycling? Really, makes you wonder doesn’t it? And by the way, this is no means a cut on CyclingTips, who really stepped up their game this year and do a terrific job of covering the sport.

Now sure, there in the top ten are a few expected winners — product reviews of top bikes like the Trek Domane and a sneak peak at the 2017 Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. And yes, a Tour de France story did make the front group but it was a behind the scenes take from the Secret Pro. So many, many secrets in pro cycling — the hidden tales just never seem to end.

Somehow, though, taken as a whole, the top ten list is kind of a sad indictment of where the sport is — the same place it’s been for a long time — doping, cheating, secrets, from the very top of the World Tour to some desperate guy using illegal drugs to score himself a bunch of Strava records.

Then again, never mind, lighten up, go with the flow. That Peter Sagan article about not shaving his legs was awesome.

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