Rough Ride Turns 20

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My apologies to Dirty, in a perfect world his most recent post would be left up with top billing for the next two weeks.  Looks like it has been twenty years since Paul Kimmage dropped the “Rough Ride” bomb on the cycling world.

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I was six at the time, busy spinning my wheels at the local high school located just behind my house, completely oblivious to the world of competitive cyclist.  It was an easier life back then, having no knowledge of what the top pros were doing to compete and win as professional cyclists.  Now its different it seems like at least twice a month there is a new positive test, a new raid being carried out by government officials, or a new retired pro coming out an confessing to cheating during their career.  Kimmage was on top of things back in 1990, providing readers with an honest and open glimpse of what really went down in the ranks of professional cyclists.  And based upon his recent comments, the only thing that has changed is his view, before it was the peleton, now its the press room.

“It’s too easy to say lets all move on folks, when there has been no accountability for the last 20 years. People need to acknowledge their part in it all and there should be no part of them in the sport,” he argues.

“I’m losing my patience with the good guys too. They can’t have it both ways. We can’t change things without upsetting people. I say: ‘Stand up and speak out’. If they don’t, they won’t have the respect of the public and things won’t change.”

“For example I saw that Andy Schleck offered his support to Contador the other day. I couldn’t f—ing believe that. Nobody stands up for the clean guys, who were screwed and ignored. Nobody has made a case for them. Riders lose their credibility when they say they want to retain their friendship with a rider involved in a doping scandal.”

Kimmage is also disparaging about Contador’s justification for his Clenbuterol positive test at this year’s Tour de France.

“His excuse that his meat was contaminated is laughable. It’s a fucking insult to our intelligence,” he says.

I’m sure it was easy for people to label Kimmage as “a small time rider who never won anything, and is just spewing sour grapes” when Rough Ride was first published.  Then Frishy gets screwed out of a MTB world championship in 96, Willy Voet gets busted in 1998, Landis pulls of the too good to be true miracle in 2006, and Contador looks like he could be stripped of his 2010 Tour title.  That is a list of examples which could include plenty of more examples of cheating in cycling.  I guess that’s the world we live in, when jobs, money, and glory are on the line, competitors true colors will fly, cheating will become the norm, and honesty and fairness will be a thing of the past.  No, I dont have any immediate solutions, but something has to change, because one of the most recent stories over at Cyclingnews, was this: “Two year ban recommended for Paulissen“.  Paulissen has retired, and I hope he stays retired, I also hope that whoever he took a world championship away from gets to kick him in the nuts.  I’ll conclude by offering my gratitude to Mr. Kimmage, for having the courage to do what no one else was willing to do at the time, and for still having the courage to speak out today.

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About 40 Hands

A fan of riding bikes with one gear, malt liquor, riding without knowing how many miles I’ve covered, and strip clubs that let you bring your own keg. I typically have a stupid grin on my face, it is because deep down I know that no matter what, my mom thinks I’m cool. Denver, Colorado, USA

5 Replies to “Rough Ride Turns 20”

  1. The money quote comes at the tail end of that piece:

    “I saw a French guy I used to race with a couple of years ago and he said ‘there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the sport of cycling that a bit of truth and honesty can’t sort out,’ He’s absolutely right. That’s the essence to it all.”

    Thank you, Mr. Kimmage. What you did took balls.

  2. I think of this guy every time someone gets a pat on the back for speaking up after they get caught.

  3. …i gotta say that my attitude has changed over the years about this whole debacle…

    …i thought guys like kimmage were waving flags that simply ‘upset’ the sport & showed us to be seen poorly in the eyes of the non-cycling world & that the sport (ie: the riders) would take the initiative to quietly cleanse itself from within…

    …obviously not & there has been a remarkable propensity to delve further & further into the realm of cheating…

    ‘micro-dosing’ doesn’t mean the sport is getting cleaner because less is being used, it simply suggests that the practice is that much more nefarious & that the science & medicine of cheating is being refined, thus making it harder to detect…

    …i love kimmages quote regarding contador “His excuse that his meat was contaminated is laughable. It’s a fucking insult to our intelligence”…what else CAN you say about that especially in light of the disingenuous indignation that contador shows as if that alone should be enough to sway public opinion…

    …i’ve said it before, contador’s self righteousness seems based on the fact that “i learned from the best & he was never caught so how dare you accuse me ???”

  4. What has happened to the Radio Shack Chinese dude that got busted for Clen? Hope he’s not being tortured in some wicked Chinese prison.