The Lexicon: A Retraction

The Lexicon: A Retraction

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The recent headlines being made in the cycling world have honestly not garnered a whole lot of attention at V-HQ, at least where a certain COTHO is concerned. Yes, The Keepers have added to the usual discussions on the topic here, read the news, and given it some thought. But we really don’t feel the need to take any sort of official position, recap the whole sordid mess, or offer up any ideas on how to move forward. Just as you all contribute positively to this place in ways we couldn’t possibly have envisioned when we started, the cycling community as a whole will contribute positively to our sport as we grow through this. COTHOS, governing bodies, PED’s, and corruption be damned. We’re here to live La Vie Velominatus.

That being said, we feel the need to retract LeMelvis from the Lexicon as a result of this whole mess. Perhaps the COTHO‘s reach into public opinion went far enough to cloud our judgement of the greatest American cyclist and only American winner of the Tour. It went far enough that we thought it was okay, if not funny, to besmirch his more recent public image. We were wrong and for that we are sorry. Where has LeMond been in the recent tumult? Quiet, letting things speak for themselves. That’s class. The same class he showed when he turned up in Europe as a neo-pro to race with the best as a virtually solitary American. The same class he showed winning three Tours. The same class he showed in the above picture. Vive La Vie, Greg. You’re the man.

As point of clarification, Greg LeMan has maintained its honorary place in the Lexi. We might even put it in bold now.

// General

  1. @Marcus

    Yeah but what have you been drinking?

  2. Lance is moving to Spain and a less judgmental society.

    http://www.atwistedspoke.com/armstrong-moving-to-spain-juan-pelota-may-exit-texas/

  3. Oops should have read up a few posts.

  4. @Mikael Liddy

    @Marcus true, it’s not the most eloquently put together piece of writing.

    Eloquent or not, at least he has the balls to say what 90% of the cycling world feels but does not dare say.  Great to see LeMan on the attack again! 

  5. @Daccordi Rider

    Lance is moving to Spain and a less judgmental society. http://www.atwistedspoke.com/armstrong-moving-to-spain-juan-pelota-may-exit-texas/

    That’s awesome!  Great read.

  6. @Buck Rogers

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Marcus true, it’s not the most eloquently put together piece of writing.

    Eloquent or not, at least he has the balls to say what 90% of the cycling world feels but does not dare say. Great to see LeMan on the attack again!

    absolutely, between he & the chairman of Skins in the last few days it’s great to see some people with what you might call a little more weight within the cycling world (as opposed to Wiggo’s faves in the twitterverse) calling for the end of McQuaid & Verbruggen’s reign. It’s one of the thing’s I’m loving about Millar (D) at the moment is that he’s happy to literally bite the hand that feeds him and question them at every turn.

  7. I’m in two minds about that Lemond piece.

    I only started following pro-cycling in the Indurain era when I moved to the UK so I don’t have the same history with Lemond, which may influence my view.

    I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but it strikes me as odd and slightly silly, even pathetic, that someone of his stature is basically just having a rant on Facebook. It doesn’t exactly add to the the many posts of a similar theme on messageboards around the world from average cycling fans.

    The difference is that Lemond has the status and connections – especially now that he can play the I Told You So card – to do something more about it than the average cycling fan. If McQuaid and his cronies are going to be forced out then it has to come from the heads of the cycling federations who vote for the UCI Executive.

    I imagine he can pick up the phone to quite a few people who have influence with them, or he could head up a campaign to reform the structure and give more power to clubs and cyclists, not bureaucrats in blazers. It would be more effective if he came out with a plan, or supported one, like the sort of things that the AIGCP and the Pure Cycling Movement have put forward.

    It just all seems a bit beneath him, and to go back to the Lexicon Retraction, that’s how he seems to have lost the respect of people in the first place. I don’t see this as enhancing his reputation.

  8. Here’s a slightly lighter take on the UCI’s position from the Australian political satirists, Clarke & Dawe

  9. I was in the LBS yesterday, and I thought it interesting that someone had dug up a huge “Lemond Cycles” banner and hung it up in a prominent place over the weekend. 

  10. http://youtu.be/_udFWNqymfY

    Nice little piece here on McQueef, Pharmy, and NoHan.

  11. Best comment ever. Without LeMond I wouldn’t have discovered the sport. And now he is practically daring the UCI to sue him.  I. Love. It.

    Fuck off, Pat. Fuck the fuck off.

  12. @The Oracle

    I was in the LBS yesterday, and I thought it interesting that someone had dug up a huge “Lemond Cycles” banner and hung it up in a prominent place over the weekend.

    Now we know the answer to the age-old question “Where did the weekend go ?”.

    It was in The Oracle’s LBS.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist ;-)

  13. ChrisO – while I’m glad LeMond wrote that, you do make a very solid point. It does come off a bit as a rant and not quite measured or classy, coming from a three-time champ. Nice analysis!

    I can also kinda see some of the younger dudes wanting to move on, look forward, etc. But it definitely is not ancient history and if you never doped you should be eager to discuss, investigate, and truly reshape the sport. You can’t get pissed at reporters or the public wanting to talk about this. It’s kind of a big deal. It kind of did/could shape the sport. A lot of people aren’t satisfied just yet and want to dig to the bottom so we can start moving back to the top.

  14. And also…maybe we all need to dress up as COTHO for Halloween. Gonna be a lot of bracelets, jerseys and other assorted bs hitting the second-hand stores.

    Maybe a worldwide Velominati costume party?

    Maybe I’ll find a “Mellow Johnny” hat & jersey and walk around smokin’ Js all night, telling folks I’m totally over the whole thing, still won 7 times, and just want to look towards a (hazy) future with a mystically clear mind. And that if I test positive for anything, someone spiked my goddamn Halloween candy. It wasn’t me!

  15. @krx10

    He beat the euro dogs at their own game and then kicked my tail on the trails to Cable. Mr. Lemond, I salute you and your impeccable femur-tibia ratio.

     

    AWESOME!! And look at those cannons.

    @Marcus I’m 36. I call that almost 40 when its convenient.

  16. @frank cool. I am almost a 6 foot A grade bike racer

  17. @Ron

    ChrisO – while I’m glad LeMond wrote that, you do make a very solid point. It does come off a bit as a rant and not quite measured or classy, coming from a three-time champ. Nice analysis!

    That’s exactly what I thought this morning when I read it. Too bad he was unable to compose a well written statement of facts that clearly exposed their conflict of interest and profit from turning a blind eye.  Of course those points have been discussed in the media ad nauseum so maybe it does not matter.
    All of the actions by UCI in recent years have been directed at generating more coin for the coffers.  Protecting the dopers was good business, and Lance was good for revenue. MLB is guilty of the same, having “big” sluggers hitting out of the yard, and “stud” pitchers slinging it by the hitters put butts in the seats and sold jerseys.  What’s the UCI slice of the revenue worth on all of the team and yellow jerseys sold each year leading up to the Tour?  I thought Vaughters analysis of climbing performance past and present was telling and clearly appreciate the parallel with HR totals of recent years.  
     

  18. Ok, so Greg’s letter might not be the most eloquent or erudite, but that just reinforces how genuine it is – he’s a cyclist, not a professional writer. How many times do we have  to read statements from other athletes that are clearly not written by then, but by some pr flunky? Kudos for telling it like he really feels.

  19. @wiscot Exactly. The words may be a bit clunky but the message is a good one.

    And to @ChrisO , what he’s trying to do here is galvanise the rank and file cyclists via social media, which by his own admission he is unfamiliar with. The tone of the rant was much more understandable when you say it on Facebook! The impact it’s having and the speed with which it’s spreading mean it may be just the call to arms that’s needed…hopefully, anyway.

    Good on him, I reckon.

  20. @Oli Right! I have already shared it, signed up for Greg’s newsletter, and will contribute thru The Paul Kimmage Fund link on this site at the end of the month.

  21. @frank I’m 31, can I say I’m 30 when it’s convenient?

  22. @frank

    @Marcus

    @frank Unfortaunately, it might be time to add Merckx to the list of doping apologists.

    If this quote is correct and the translation wasnt wrong, Eddy is deluding himself too.

    “Lance has been very correct all through his career,” Merckx had told La Dernière Heure. “What more can he do? All of the controls that he has done – over 500 since 2000 – have come back negative. Either the controls don’t serve any purpose or Armstrong was legit. The whole case is based on witnesses, it’s deeply unjust.”

    To tell you the truth, I read a quote from Tomeke the other day as well, where he was quoted saying that USADA considers themselves “the most sacred bean”. That is an expression in Dutch/Flemish that in nearly 40 years of speaking Dutch I’ve never heard used in any context other than tongue-in cheek – is like The Rules, or saying “Marcus, you’re so stupid you didn’t realize you had Aussies in the Tour in 1914″³ and thinking someone was making a totally serious statement.

    Although I haven’t seen the original Flemish of Merckx’s interview, I’m leaning on this: “it was his problem but I fell into the trap.” That sounds a lot like him saying Pharmy was a douche.I’ll take it!

    No, this was from his earlier comments I believe. The article is just poorly written, as it make you think that the above comment is the new one ( Merckx had told La Dernière Heure). The new comment is the one about being caught in the LA “trap.”
    Not to insult The Prophet, but he has always supported LA and has always been a bit wishy-washy on doping. I mean, you can’t expect us to this on mineral water alone.

    Calling out the dickheads at the UCI – priceless. I hope that Kimmage wins. For all the kool-aid drinkers of the past, I say LeMan for UCI President. And bring in Dick Pound, because, Dick Pound.

  23. @Dan_R

    Not to insult The Prophet, but he has always supported LA and has always been a bit wishy-washy on doping.

    He’s a product of his time. A time when most of the leading cyclists took one or another substance.  Which in his era typically meant stimulants and steroids.  Less potent than EPO of course, but still doping.  Also with some terrible side effects on the riders.  Death in Simpsons case of course, but also addictions to amphetamines.  Eddy also had his own failed test results.  In an interesting parallel (which I learned on Wikipedia, but I assume true!), he was found to be positive for a stimulant in the 1969 Giro and eliminated from the race, but subsequently the UCI gave into pressure from the Belgian cycling authorities and rescinded his ban, which allowed him to compete in that years Tour.

    As I said before, Lance didn’t start the fire, it’s been burning since the birth of professional cycling.  Which isn’t to excuse him or anyone else, but it does make it harder to separate the wheat from the chaff, hero from villain, COTHO from Saint.

  24. Just a couple of points; Tom Simpson didn’t die because of his use of amphetamines, although they did contribute to his death. He most likely died of dehydration and from the massive strain put on his heart in the heat that allegedly reached 50 degrees Celsius.

    Eddy Merckx actually tested positive three times – the Savona Affair which you talk about, which he maintains still was a frame-up. Another time where he says he ingested a banned substance “unwittingly” after his doctor prescribed him something without thoroughly checking the proscribed list, and the last time he said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “I have no explanation for that one…”.

  25. I don’t know where that link to donate to Paul Kimmage came from or how it came up but that’s awesome! I donated a meager amount, but I hope it helps.

  26. @Oli

    @wiscot Exactly. The words may be a bit clunky but the message is a good one.

    And to @ChrisO , what he’s trying to do here is galvanise the rank and file cyclists via social media, which by his own admission he is unfamiliar with. The tone of the rant was much more understandable when you say it on Facebook! The impact it’s having and the speed with which it’s spreading mean it may be just the call to arms that’s needed…hopefully, anyway.

    Good on him, I reckon.

    YES! I thought that too. “Hey, the guy is a world-class athlete. I’ll forgive him a writing error, or two.” Yup, that just makes it all that more awesome that he thought about it, wrote it, and let it fly. Who needs editors when you’re LeMAN?

    Oli – yup, good on him! For fucks sakes, I’d rather he writes what he feels and shows how much he cares about RIDING BIKES than issue a “statement” through his lawyer or rep. Fuck you guys. Be honest or fuck off.

    And riding bikes..well, those old photos of him show how pumped he was to ride a bike, anywhere, anytime. Ha, riding because he can’t run in road shoes. Avvesome.

  27. @Marko – great post, and one that has finally motivated me to post.  LeMan was my first inspiration to get on a bike, a used cromoly Nishiki job with Suntour components.  While he may have been long exiled as a voice crying out in the wilderness for the last few years, he has certainly been vindicated.  Chapeau!

  28. @Ron I can’t work whether lemond was Ronning or you were Lemonding. His sentiments are spot on but he has a voice that could have been (and hopefully wil be) conveyed far more effectively than something that appears to have been written by one of us on a bad day.

  29. @David the best piece I have reason this…

  30. @David The best piece I have read so far. From the coal face – with a suggested solution

  31. @David Strong first post.

    It’s odd how some peoples words come across without raising any doubt at all while others complete fail to convey any truth.

    Brad McGee would also seem to strengthen the bit in David Millar’s book where he says he had given up doping before he was caught because he was sick of how it had left him feeling mentally. It probably also supports the suggestion that he may have felt that he needed to be caught.

  32. Just to be clear, my objection is not to the composition or how well it was or wasn’t written. I agree entirely with the sentiment.

    It’s that I think Greg Lemond can do a lot better than ranting on FB. That’s for people like us.

    Look at how many have been coming out and criticising McQuaid et al from Vaughters and the AIGCP to Skins, to the Pure Cycling Movement, Rabobank, even the Aussie cycling federation (although I think that’s just arse covering), David Millar, Robert Millar and many more.

    How much more powerful would it be for Lemond – as one of the primary victims of the Armstrong-UCI cabal – to gather all those anti-McQuaid forces and be a figurehead for a clean-up movement. Write a letter, endorse a statement of principles e.g. independent testing, no-needles, truth and reconciliation, whatever and get 100 people to sign it – he could do that.

    Telling McQuaid to fuck off just allows them to dismiss him as slightly deranged, even if it does get a lot of coverage.

  33. He’s trying to gather forces! He’s deliberately gone for social media, which he’s not a regular user of, to try to get a groundswell behind him…and it’s working! I think you’re being a bit harsh on him, and you should wait to see what results from his open letter.

  34. @David @Marcus it’s another of those great pieces of writing on the subject that both makes you happy for its existence & sad for the fact that the situation existed to drive such a thing to be written. What I don’t get is how that someone with that moral standing (assuming all of what’s written there is legit) then goes on to work with Mr 60 & Clenbutador?

  35. Vindication – for the man.

    Merckx, and anyone else from the old guard should wind their necks in.  They were part of the acceptance of pharmaceutical means of improvement.  Whereas the man pointed to the dirty past and then called out his dirty successors.

    Shame on those who venerate those in the past ‘because they all did it’; you perpetuate the problem by your hero worship.  For cycling to grow we have to call these past dopers out, and say they are not worthy of fandom.

    Condem, clean up, then move on.

  36. @Mikael Liddy

    Bobby Julich says he never saw anything untoward at CSC. http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/10/news/262597_262597

    Also, Contador tested positive with Bruyneel before signing with Saxo.  I wonder though if he wasn’t still on something for the Vuelta, just didn’t get caught.

  37. @Symo

    Shame on those who venerate those in the past ‘because they all did it’; you perpetuate the problem by your hero worship. For cycling to grow we have to call these past dopers out, and say they are not worthy of fandom.

    Condem, clean up, then move on.

    Shame on me for my hero worship and fandom!
    It too easy to condemn. To see the world as black and white. Makes one feel good as well, to wrap oneself in a comforting blanket of condemnation and self righteousness.  No need to analyse, to understand, to think about context.

    But I would argue that that approach is simplistic and blinkered. If you want to condemn Merckx, Simpson, Anquetil, go ahead.  But to do so is to ignore the context and the shades of grey. And the fact that humans and their flaws have been bedfellows since Adam decided he fancied a tasty snack as he wandered naked around the garden of Eden in search of refreshment.

    So yes, I revere them and their exploits at the same time as I can see that (for example) taking amphetamines wasn’t right. Because there was a context. Yes they were doing everything in their power to win. And they went well over the dividing line  between right and wrong in doing so.  But equally the demands on the top cyclists in those days were brutal. The lengths of the races and the numbers of days raced each year was insane. No wonder they looked for stimulants to pick themselves up day after day and be able to race. No wonder they drank alcohol to help dull the pain.

    They also didn’t have the benefits of modern sports physiology to help them.  To the extent that the received wisdom of the day is summed up by the following quote attributed to Tommy Simpson in the excellent book “Put me back on my bike”:

    “Avoid drinking when racing, especially in hot weather. Drink as little as possible, and with the liquid not too cold. It is only a question of will power. When you drink too much you will perspire, and you will lose your strength.”  Little wonder he died.

    It was a different time and place. Does that make it right? No, of course not. But, I’ll continue to worship my heroes and admire their exploits that contributed to illuminating cycling’s history.

    And at the same time, I’ll continue to advocate that cycling needs to clean itself up. On that, we of course agree.  Is that contradictory?  No doubt.. But contradiction is at the heart of the human condition.

    And those shades of grey:  all part of life’s rich tapestry.

  38. @ken Latest song from Rush reminds me.

    “The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect

    So hard to earn, so easily burned.

    In the fullness of time

    A garden to nurture and protect.”

  39. @unversio

    @ken Latest song from Rush reminds me.

    “The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect

    So hard to earn, so easily burned.

    In the fullness of time

    A garden to nurture and protect.”

    Nice one…

    Your reference to Rush was like a blast from the past – used to listen to them in a heavy metal phase in the late 70’s!  Didn’t realise they were still at it.  Life in the old dogs yet!

  40. @ken

    @unversio

    @ken Latest song from Rush reminds me.

    “The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect

    So hard to earn, so easily burned.

    In the fullness of time

    A garden to nurture and protect.”

    Nice one…

    Your reference to Rush was like a blast from the past – used to listen to them in a heavy metal phase in the late 70″²s! Didn’t realise they were still at it. Life in the old dogs yet!

    Rush tried so many experimental* approaches to music that they always ended up with a good direction to go in. The song that I referenced The Garden sounds somewhat like their final act — farewell.

  41. @ChrisO

    Just to be clear, my objection is not to the composition or how well it was or wasn’t written. I agree entirely with the sentiment.

    It’s that I think Greg Lemond can do a lot better than ranting on FB. That’s for people like us.

    Look at how many have been coming out and criticising McQuaid et al from Vaughters and the AIGCP to Skins, to the Pure Cycling Movement, Rabobank, even the Aussie cycling federation (although I think that’s just arse covering), David Millar, Robert Millar and many more.

    How much more powerful would it be for Lemond – as one of the primary victims of the Armstrong-UCI cabal – to gather all those anti-McQuaid forces and be a figurehead for a clean-up movement. Write a letter, endorse a statement of principles e.g. independent testing, no-needles, truth and reconciliation, whatever and get 100 people to sign it – he could do that.

    Telling McQuaid to fuck off just allows them to dismiss him as slightly deranged, even if it does get a lot of coverage.

    I can follow with you on this. The sentiment of LeMan is correct and well worthy of statement, but with his legendary status, history of social/media persecution (too strong a word?), and subsequent vindication, he has the real chance to spearhead change and truly gather forces. The best way to do this is not on FB (albeit probably therapeutic), but to create some sort of “coalition of the clean” or some such group (pick your own stupid name), where it can be a sounding board for those speaking out, but also a watchdog for the future of the sport. A third party that says we have our eye squarely on you Pat and Hein. Point being use you LeMan-ess, to formally pull people together, it could also serve as a sign off sheet for the public to have an outlet vs corruption. He should think bigger.

  42. @RedRanger

    Kittel “sick” of Armstrong supporters
    I like this kid

    Yep, awesome.  Putting Marcel Kittel on my favorite riders list….alot of slots came open recently….

  43. This is a good outline.

    L’Equipe, Gazzetta, Het Nieuwsblad and le Soir joining for concerted action with a simple, supportable manifesto.

    No doubt Option B was “No, forget the manifesto, just tell McQuaid to fuck off”.

  44. @RedRanger

    Kittel “sick” of Armstrong supporters
    I like this kid

    Yeah, I like the cut of his jib. Or however Navy fruits say that.

    So who is next on the defend LA farriswheel? Or has it only been the Spanards so far that still have residual kool-aid in the beef?

  45. Don’t know if these made it to the site earlier in the year…but it’s really cool seeing how passionate he still is about bike racing.

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