Anti-V Moment of the Year: Chaingate

Anti-V Moment of the Year: Chaingate

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It is a telling sign of the state of our sport that picking the Anit-V moment of the year was a more difficult task than picking the V Ride of the Year. Best ride of the year? Clean, unanimous vote among The Keepers on that one. Low point of the year? Dissention in the ranks as email traffic filled our inboxes to overflowing.

Veino in Liege. Piti continuing to rack up wins even as his suspension was imminent. The defiance of the Spanish Cycling Federation. The UCI’s thinly veiled “fight” against doping, as long as I’m naming governing bodies. The Landis Allegations. The Cavendish/Haussler crash in the Tour de Suisse. The neutralization of Stage 2 of the Tour. The threat of the rider protest prior Stage 3. FedEx’s expulsion for irregular sprinting. Bjarne Riis’ constant complaining about the mass exodus from his team. The Motorcus Myth. Alberto Contador’s positive test for Clenbuterol.

Which brings me to my nomination of the lowest moment of the season: Chaingate. The incident was more than a moment of poor sportsmanship, but marked a new phase in Cycling’s steady departure from the great traditions of our sport. Not to mention that the Grimplette‘s chain needs a stern talking to. There is no higher honor for a chain than to get jammed onto the big ring while carrying the Maillot Jaune away from the bunch on its way up some fabled climb in the Tour de France. The fact that it cocked it up is inexcusable. Into the trash heap with you, Chain. But I digress.

There was a time when the sport was headed by great personalities who recognized they were but a chapter of a great epic that spanned generations. They understood that one of the things that distinguish cycling from other sports is the rich history and time-honored traditions; Cycling’s icons – the Great Races, the Cobbles, the Mountains, the Jerseys – are made up of much more than any one athlete and are to be respected as such. Their actions are the mortar between the stones of our sport and form a foundation for later generations. Coppi, Bobet, Merckx, de Vlaeminck, Zoetemelk, Hinault, Fignon – these were riders with personality and strength of character, who understood their place.

Like small fluffy dogs chasing a passing car, Chaingate marked the moment when the top riders of our sport forgot their place in the misguided notion that the time gained at the finish is the stick by which we measure their greatness when in fact it is how they get there: with no one else in the picture.

// Defining Moments // Nostalgia // Technique // Tradition

  1. Misery loves company: Chaingate voted CyclingNews Moment of the Year.

  2. It was definitely a big moment!

  3. @frank

    I was looking around the website and could not find a link to what you guys had selected as the V Moment of the year. You mention that it was an unanimous decision among the “Heads of State” here but I cannot find it. I personally preferred (and voted for) The strade stage in the Giro with Cuddles driving it home but also just LOVE Ian Stannard’s post-race interview after KBK. Just curious as to what you guys called the V moment of the year! Thanks.

  4. @Buck Rogers

    You’re a smart man @Buck Rogers.

  5. @Marko
    Man, I guess I am getting old as I had actually seen that one but completely forgot! Hell, I even commented on the bloody thing! But, in fairness to myself, it was a stolen computer moment while at a relative’s place over the holidays! Still love Stannard’s post KBK race interview, though!

  6. So….if Schleck it now riding for Leopard, shouldnt Cuntador be riding for Cheetah?

  7. sorry….should have been:

    If Schleck IS now riding for Leopard, shouldnt Cuntador be riding for Cheetah

  8. @Houdini

    queue rim-shot. boom!

  9. @Buck Rogers
    Perhaps I could have used a better analogy than the NASCAR one, but my point was really that our sport is the only form of racing that I know of wherein anyone will slow down for someone who has fallen behind and allow them to catch up, for any reason. I get the whole notion of the unwritten rules, but the problem is with their inconsistent application (by the riders – I have no problem with the debate that is sparked – it is interesting to follow the thread).

  10. And Contador gets a one year ban and will most likely lose his last tdf title. I have to admit that I like either Schleck SSSOOOOOOO much more than good ol’Conti and it is a VERY comforting thought that we will not have to see the “pistol salute” again for at least one year!

  11. @BuckRogers
    just read that myself re: Cuntador & the 1 year ban. While I’m not sure just how much Spanish beef one would need to ingest to register positive for Clenbuterol, it is a lot more an original excuse than others have used.

  12. What? What??!!! Albutero Clentador is clean and pure as the driven snow! He never tested positive in the 2008 Giro. Everybody else did, but he didn’t. Doesn’t that mean something?

    And he did it with 10 days of training! He was sitting on a beach with his girlfriend when COTHO2 called.

    “Get your ass to Sicily in 10 days. You’re starting the Giro.”

    “May I feeneesh my drrrreenk, Xo-haan, por favorrrr?”

    “Yes, if by finish your drink, you mean… Of course. Just be ready to race a week from Saturday. See you in Sicily. Lance says hi.”

    “Please tell Lance grathiath por, well, juu know. I hope hee ees enjoying hees rrreetirement.”

    “Yeah. Sure. Retirement. That reminds me–I forgot to call Lance back. OK. Ten days. Sicily. Don’t be late.”

    Then with eight days of training and a couple of days for traveling, he beat out Rebellin (positive), Di Luca (positive), Ricco (double-douchebag positive), and Sella (positive) in a three-week stage race.

    It was all by talent, guts, determination, water, and bananas.

    You guys are such cynics.

  13. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    A++1. Cynicism is so corrosive. And c’mon – if Pistolero was really guilty of intentionally doping his way to victory then the Spanish federation would’ve thrown the book at him, wouildn’t they, rather than letting him off with a one year (almost over already) ban. So let’s all relax now that justice (however harsh and swift) has been visited on this poor morally unblemished man, and hope that those petty sticklers at the UCI don’t get all “we’ve gotta do something” about this and seek to deny us the glorious pistol for any longer than the Spaniards already have.

  14. It’s going to be very interesting to see how he handles things now…

  15. @G’phant

    I, too, fear what those over-zealous, heavy-handed bureaucrats at the UCI might do. What if they hand out a two-year ban as they are wont to do with so many others? Clenbutador will surely retire. He’s already said he would.

  16. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    And, while we’re on the topic, look who might finally have started listening to Mario and growing some man-sized nads about Chaingate –

  17. Yeah. I read that and thought it might be a response to the Cipo interview. With the Brothers Grimpeur having a team built around them, they’ve got to step it up in the PR department. I thought this was a good first shot across the bow. The whole “We’re just a couple of super-friendly guys who ride bikes” thing was getting stale.

    What I’d really love is a video of O’Grady, Spartacus, and Jens telling the rest of the peloton, “Do not fuck with the Schlecks or we will put your asses in the gutter and let you hang out in the wind like forgotten laundry. Do you hear us, Bitches?”

    I just gave myself chills writing that. Damn, I wish the season would hurry up and get here.

  18. Haha, superb!

  19. @G’phant @Jeff in PetroMetro
    That boy could do worse than taking Mario as his consigliare!

    @Jeff in PetroMetro
    A masterpiece.

    I am pretty sure Jens was just hired as a body guard.

    I’ll be curious to hear a justification for the short ban; they give them out when the cyclist has assisted somehow, or if they are sending a message that they think the rider doesn’t deserve to be punished for the offense. Wonder which it is (the latter, I’m guessing) and we’ll have to see if WADA appeals. Very interesting.

  20. @frank
    Your picture of Jens just gave me chills again. FUCK. HURRY UP. START MILAN SAN REMO TOMORROW! I. CAN’T. WAIT. ANY. LONGER!!!

  21. @frank
    Justification? You know this is the Spanish federation we’re talking about, right?

    @Jeff in PetroMetro

  22. @G’phant
    Bring back the Spanish Inquisition!

  23. @ G’phant
    The article in cyclingnews has some strong words.
    “I have regrets” – Andy Schleck
    this may be an indicator of how this young man is going to ride this year.

  24. Nate :
    @G’phant Bring back the Spanish Inquisition!

    NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquistion!!! (come on, you know you were waiting for it!)

  25. @Buck Rogers
    I knew someone would rise to the bait!

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