What’s up with Bradley Wiggins these days?
It seems he has gone from an outspoken advocate for clean cycling from back in his SlipStream days to an “Oh well” apologist for Lance Armstrong. That seems like crazy talk considering the Texan doped and denied Wiggo the third spot on the podium in the 2009 Tour de France.
Back when he was with Cofidis, Credit Agricole and Slipsteam, he was vehemently anti-doping. He thought dopers were scum that should be burned at the stake. Now, not so much.
In recent quotes about Armstrong, Wiggins seems to have dramatically shifted his perspective. “I see it more from the human side now. It is what it is. So much goes on in the world anyway, and there are so many bad things with this that or the other,” said Wiggins.
We wonder why he’s overlooking the rest of the human side — the way Armstrong and team manager Johan Bruyneel bullied and coercerized the other riders on the team to get with the doping program or else. You only had to read the USADA Reasoned Decision testimony from Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde to understand the psychological and emotional pressure they suffered thanks to Armstrong.
Wiggins has fallen in line with the classic Armstrong defense that everybody was doping so was it really so bad? That excuses Armstrong as just another rider who made bad choices when Armstrong did far more that drugs. He and Bruyneel put together a sophisticated US Postal doping program and forced everyone into it.
That’s on top of the rest of the “human” side that Wiggins has conveniently or bizarrely left out. The human damage Armstrong caused to everyone who tried to tell the truth — from Greg LeMond to Frankie Andreu to journalist David Walsh. He destroyed people’s careers, ruined their reputations and bankrupted them with lawsuits.
However, Wiggins no longer sees it that way. “Lance has paid the price heavily for what he’s done. Okay the sport has suffered, but he wasn’t alone in that. I think he’s been singled out as well,” said Wiggins.
There’s a reason Armstrong received a lifetime ban from the sport. He wasn’t just another rider during a dirty time in cycling. Lance was an evil force –nasty, vindictive, merciless. His crimes went far beyond his own personal doping program.
Wiggins is promoting his new book by talking to the media about his attending-getting excerpts on Armstrong. There’s a certain irony in that approach. While he once called Armstrong a “lying bastard,” he’s now making use of the Texan to essentially hype sales of his new book. Which in a weird sort of way is like making a profit off doping?
Wiggins claims that anyone who wins the Tour de France is a “nutter.” We’d have to agree on that one. What else would explain his new stance on Armstrong?