Whatever you think of Mark Cavendish, the man rarely pulls a punch. When he’s got an opinion, he’s not afraid to lay it on the line, popular or unpopular.
The worlds’s fastest sprinter except for Marcel Kittel at the Tour de France, Cavendish played contrarian with the idea of a Truth & Reconciliation panel. In short, he thinks it’s worthless.
“The problem is getting people to open up about their past when there’s no incentive. After the USADA verdict and amid the hysteria that it created, there was talk of a ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ commission. It sounds like a nice idea, but it’s not going to work. Why? One word: ego. Even now, when they’ve retired and there’s no threat of sanctions or public humiliation, riders cling to their careers because that’s what their identity has been constructed on. They’re terrified of losing it all.”
We would have profoundly disagreed with Cavendish a year ago but now we’re 100% in alignment. While there have been a flurry of stories about a T&R commission coming together in a few short weeks — that’s USADA CEO Travis Tygart’s guess — we think the time has come and gone and Cav is right on the mark.
The Death By A Thousand Paper Cuts analogy is an accurate one for pro cycling. Our issue is that sadly, that window of opportunity closed, we’re about 800 paper cuts in and the final 200 aren’t worth bothering about — and those admissions won’t happen anyway for the exact reasons detailed by the Manxman.
We agree with Cavendish that some retired rider from Spain or Italy (just by way of example) has zero incentive to set his record straight. To Cavendish’s point, all they have left is their reputation and ego. For what reason — other than the greater good of helping cycling — would you wreck the best story of your life? You’re not doing that just to give the UCI a hand.
Those guys are going to keep their mouths firmly shut with a strong sense of self-omérta. Or ego, as Cavendish prefers to label it.
Our feeling at Twisted Spoke is that a T&R won’t end the slow bleed. We already know most of the dark stories and the rest aren’t coming to light unless somebody else outs the rider. There’s no way to avoid that last, slow trickle and some riders will never spit in their own soup.
A year ago we were vocal in our support for a Truth & Reconciliation commission. Now, really, what’s the point? Cav hit the nail on the head. Ego, for those last hold-outs, is far stronger than altruism.