Who is Mr. 90%?
The recently released CIRC report promised worms but the worms were old and barely moving and we’d seen them years ago. Even hungry fish turned their gills up at them.
Really, the Cookson-generated buzz on his expensive deep dive into doping in pro cycling turned out to be a relative snooze.
Except for one quote from an unnamed rider that has everyone in the peloton, outraged, angry and shocked. This rider, one of very few who even bothered to accept the invitation to talk, claimed that “90 percent of the peloton is still doped.”
Well, that’s a freakin’ huge number that goes so far past any percentages handed out by anybody else in the sport. Generally, Twisted Spoke reads that most experts put the number somewhere in the 5-10% range. Which is a nice number that says progress and hope and optimism.
However, 90% pretty much dictates that pro cycling is a lost cause, a systemic disaster, a moral sinkhole, a sport no sane sponsor should ever come near. 90% says toxic, near-death, irredeemable, beyond hope.
Which, not surprisingly, makes a lot of riders pretty pissed off that somebody in their ranks single-handedly undid all the good anti-doping, clean-up-the-sport work done over the last, say, ten years. With one visceral and damning sound bite, he screwed everyone he works with in the entire sport.
You can imagine that a mob of riders would like to get their hands on this “respected professional” and beat the shit out of him with metal floor pumps and chain whips. Because he basically threw them all back under the doping bus they had finally crawled away from, freshly showered and full of good sensations.
Still, the blame falls partly on their own shoulders. Silence wasn’t a good strategy.
Sad to say, that of the 174 people CIRC talked, less than a dozen of them are current pros. The irony of that unwillingness to talk is it created a vacuum filled by one rider’s outlandish and inflammatory statement. There aren’t quotes from 49 other riders to tell a more accurate story. Keeping mouth shut backfires big time. Mr. 90% basically got the stage all to himself.
Only Chris Froome of Sky and Alberto Contador have even admitted to chatting with the CIRC commission. So we’re left wondering who threw the meat in the dirt. Maybe somebody with deep pockets like Rupert Murdock for Sky or Oleg Tinkov at Tinkof-Saxo could bribe the CIRC panel into leaking the name of Mr. 90%.
If we were him, we’d be keeping a very low profile. If his name ever surfaces, he’ll be flicked by every rider in the peloton and won’t survive the first race.