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.