Calling out dopers, ignoring others, Omertà and hypocrisy

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This seems as good a place as any to discuss the likes of Koen de Kort and Luke Durbridge, who have been taking to twitter to tell fans not to boo. Durbridge saying "if you don't like cycling don't come to watch" as if it's impossible to differentiate between a like of the actual sport of cycling and a dislike of the baggage that it carries, and de Kort even stating that, in fact, it is us, the fans, who are ruining cycling, by voicing displeasure. So I thought I'd write an open letter to Koen and Luke.

Koen de Kort said:
On another note. Please respect every and ALL riders. Let us all just do our race and please stop the booing. Enough now. Cycling is such a great sport, don't ruin it.
Luke Durbridge said:
What I sore from the fans on the final climb today towards @TeamSky was disgraceful. We are all human and we are all suffering regardless what jerseys we have on. If you don’t like cycling don’t come to watch!!
Dear Koen, dear Luke.

I have nothing against either of you personally, and never have. You presumably do not have anything against me, since the chances that either of you follow the forum is pretty slim and I don't recall having met either of you at any of the races I've been to. I am not a professional athlete and would never profess to have the talent or the dedication to do what you do, and I appreciate that it must be pretty detrimental to your motivation to travel through a sea of boos and hear what you feel is disrespect for the suffering you and your colleagues go through. But before you start telling the fans how to behave, how about thinking about it from the other side of the fence.

Road cycling is not football, it is not basketball, it is not ice hockey, baseball, or whatever other sport you can care to name which has ticketed revenues. There is no fixed home of cycling where we fans can all congregate almost every week to develop a connection to our home teams and home riders, and we don't get to see the whole event, just a minuscule part. But even if events aren't ticketed, many fans have to sacrifice plenty to follow the sport they love. I've trapsed up the sun-drenched face of a low altitude mountain in 40º heat to stake out a place three hours before the riders arrive, to see a few fleeting seconds of the action. I've been one of a hundred people crowded around a minuscule battery-powered TV unit trying to capture the end of a mountain stage that we'd seen go past minutes earlier on a hand-held aerial. There are people who wait out in freezing rain for hours in the Classics waiting for a chance that maybe, just maybe, their favourite rider will lurch past first, spitting mud into their face from the cobbles his wheels are punching their way along. I spend long hours on cycling forums, following races, assessing CQ ranking, designing races. I have 19.000 posts on this board, so I'd like to think that it's pretty self-evident that I have a passion for this sport. But at the same time, we don't get paid for this. You do. You're the ones with the talent and the aptitude, and you're the ones who are on the inside. We're not. We can't change it, we just get what we're given.

But that doesn't mean we're just faceless cheering automatons, who don't have great love and respect for the sport ourselves. We aren't here because we just want to cheer mindlessly. It's not our job. We're here as fans of the sport, because we want to see it enthrall and excite us the way it was when we became fans in the first place, which is different for all of us. We want to believe that we're watching the best in the world duke it out and wowing us with their strength, their fortitude, their resolve, their talent.

Right now, we cannot do that.

We cannot do that because we have just seen the entire fabric of anti-doping, the only thing that truly protects the integrity of the competition, come crumbling down, and hide in the corner like a startled cat in the face of the lawyers of big money.

We've never pretended cycling was perfect, but we've always loved it despite its flaws, despite its sins. At this point, we fans are like the battered wife, cheated on and abused, who keeps believing this time he's changed, this time he means it, he really does love me and he's sorry for all the pain he's caused me. We stuck with the sport through Festina, through Puerto, through Oil for Drugs, through Humanplasma, through the Reasoned Decision. We're willing to put up with a lot, you'd think. But through all of it, we had that belief that anti-doping's genuine aim was to prevent doping in sport, and even if we had concerns about how they went about their business, we were willing to accept it.

But following the Froome decision, we've seen WADA wilfully backtrack its own rules to exonerate a man whose physical and medical backstory now has more inconsistencies and contradictions than Kane, and are asked to believe that the greatest physical specimen in the history of cycling is a man who has dozens of ailments which, like Mr. Burns on the Simpsons, are perfectly in balance with one another so none of them actually detract from his cycling performance; it feels like we have literally seen "justice" being bought before our eyes, by a team which represents everything that is wrong with the sport - cold, calculating and reducing everything to watt numbers, lacking in the passion and the flair and the grit that has always attracted the fans; with a colossal budget that means they can not only purchase top 10 candidate riders and set them to work as middling domestiques in a colossally strong mountain train, but can also raid and steal riders that other teams have had in their developmental wings, profiting off others' hard work too; a racing style which tightly controls and stifles any of the kind of attractive racing that helps attract fans to the sport; perceived favour from the UCI and WADA which both happened for periods of the last few years to be run by people who have a level of connection to the organisation; the ability to filibuster or obfuscate any hardship while lying through your teeth (and easily provable lies, too, such as Cope visiting Pooley, buses that go before riders do interviews with them, and Rowe claiming not to have thrown down that guy's banner); bullying (both internal and external, via the likes of Sutton, and via the likes of Kennaugh belittling Pooley and Phil Deignan airing Pauline Ferrand-Prévot's private life in retribution for her being critical of Armitstead's pre-Olympic reprieve for missing doping tests); the implication of the press being bought off (Brailsford trying to sell "a more positive story" and trying to buy off Matt Lawton with group rides and free gear); and the generation out of thin air of super talents and transformations that, in prior generations, could only be explicable with doping. I know that, in the current péloton, you cannot make those implications without repercussion, and I get that. Even George Bennett issued a climb-down from his post-stage comments on Jafferau after they were taken to mean something other than what was apparently intended. But in Team Sky, fans see a boogeyman: a ruthless, undefeatable, suffocating beast that takes away all that is fun about the sport, and whose success is built on the back of nepotism, vulgar waving of the chequebook, and then served with an almighty dollop of unbearable smugness and hypocrisy.

Luke: perhaps you're right, we should be voting with our feet. At many races, that's fine. But the biggest races of the year are ones that fans have planned out months in advance, long before the latest issues - that are why Sky are drawing this hostile reaction - became public. Certainly Sky were not popular beforehand, and we've all heard the stories about the 2015 Tour too. But some fans have travelled across countries, across continents, even from distant parts of the world to watch the Tour de France. They'll have spent hundreds, thousands, of Euros, of US, Canadian, Australian dollars, pounds, kroner, rials, rubles, lira, whatever, to get flights, to hire motorhomes, to drive hundreds of kilometres to remote distant French countryside, up treacherous roads and down again. When you've made that commitment - which, remember, we aren't being paid to do - just for the pleasure of seeing some of your heroes pass by for a few fleeting seconds, without the joy of necessarily seeing the triumph of the end of it, it's pretty hard to vote with your feet and just not turn up. And besides, who would miss a few hundred people on the Alpe d'Huez among the thousands? It's not like ASO will see a drop in ticketed income. So how is a fan to voice their disapproval? So long as they only voice their disapproval, then why is that a bad thing? I certainly do not condone the idiot who tried to slap or shove Froome, any more than I condone the idiot who allegedly threw urine at him a few years ago. But giving riders an open thumbs down or booing the riders, the team, that represents everything that is hurting the sport in the public's eye, it doesn't physically harm anybody. Footballers routinely go through worse, often from their own fans.

And remember, Koen: those same fans you are admonishing as the people who are ruining cycling are the ones whose enthusiasm and positivity reduced Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig to tears of happiness, as she was so overcome with joy at the support and the love she was feeling from fans, chanting her name and cheering her on as she made her attack over the Romme and Colombière. So there's still plenty of room for positivity and support among the fans of the sport; the fans were still plenty willing to cheer, to celebrate, to love and to respect the riders during La Course, and nobody seemed to have any problem with Omar Fraile today even as he relegated the patriotic favourite to 2nd place. The fans aren't just cheering indiscriminately; they are showing support and respect for the riders they support and respect, and are not showing support and respect for riders that they do not support or respect.

Neither of you are fools, and I'd like to think that, unlike Dave Brailsford, you don't think that all of us fans are fools either. Neither of you really ought to feel like you're part of the part of the péloton that is getting the negative reaction either. But if you do feel like you are, instead of wondering why the audience isn't clapping on command like a dancing bear, maybe wonder why it was that part of the péloton lost the respect of its audience before you accuse that audience of ruining the sport.

With kindest regards.
 
Doesn't change the fact that booing is a negative reaction - There are many talented riders in the peleton who fans can cheer and support in a positive way - And it doesn't change the fact that despite the beautiful prose provided by LS, the French public continue to embarrass themselves with their unsavoury and uncouth behaviour during the TDF - Yes, Sky is an unpopular team but they don't attract such poor behaviour from fans in other countries - Let's see how much booing Sky attracts in the Vuelta - I fully understand the reaction of De Kort and Durbridge who want to compete in the biggest race in the UCI calendar in a warm and supportive environment - Frankly the riders and teams have been EXTREMELY diplomatic in their attitude towards the public - Maybe lessons can be learnt from the public - I doubt it !
 
Sep 4, 2016
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I will never have respect for the french fans before they go after Richard Virenque, how is still very popular and not have been taken his mountain jerseys away from he like Lance Armstrong with the yellow jerseys.
 
Let's not pretend that the fans booing Sky are all French, just because they're in France. What is this, the Armstrong era? The Tour is global and there are people who've travelled from all over to see it, and the distaste for Sky extends well beyond the borders of France.

Part of the beauty of mountain stages is that you can react to small groups, so it's perfectly possible to boo as Thomas or Froome pass and cheer as Bardet, or Landa, or Kruijswijk, or whoever you're cheering, come past. And it's not like Sky are exactly going to stoke up that crowd (well, the riders aren't. Brailsford did his best to, I wouldn't call his comments on Lappartient diplomatic) and for this reason it's good that Thomas leads, not Froome, because Thomas comes across a lot more well than Froome in this environment.
 
Sep 4, 2016
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The idiots how are throwing things at riders and pushing them are just making the future ready. The future with fenches all the way up on the mountains and much more security and entry fee to enter the final mountain.
 
Fans are allowed to boo. There is zero harm in it. It is literally the same thing with other sports either team or individual. Just like pther sports rival fans will cheer if someone on the other team gets injured, which is terrible, and not what people booing Sky are doing. Now the individuals that are physically attacking the Sky or any rider is unacceptable.

Regarding nationality of who fans like. Of course fans sre more likely to support someone from their country that doped over a different countries doper. It is just common sense.
 
Good post LS ... a couple of things to add ... it is a sport, but it is also entertainment and theatre. As such, having a bad guy to jeer is actually part of the whole dynamic. Supporting good guy A against bad guy B is part of the fan experience. However, it is a sport that's free to watch ... we should all remember that.
Secondly, and this is just my personal response, the comparison with an abused wife is a bit .... how can I put this? Ill-judged? No cycling fan suffers physical assault at the hands of their heroes/heroines/bad guys/gals. I think we sometimes get cycling out of perspective.
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
Let's not pretend that the fans booing Sky are all French, just because they're in France. What is this, the Armstrong era? The Tour is global and there are people who've travelled from all over to see it, and the distaste for Sky extends well beyond the borders of France.

Part of the beauty of mountain stages is that you can react to small groups, so it's perfectly possible to boo as Thomas or Froome pass and cheer as Bardet, or Landa, or Kruijswijk, or whoever you're cheering, come past. And it's not like Sky are exactly going to stoke up that crowd (well, the riders aren't. Brailsford did his best to, I wouldn't call his comments on Lappartient diplomatic) and for this reason it's good that Thomas leads, not Froome, because Thomas comes across a lot more well than Froome in this environment.
The fans booing may not be 100% French but they are the vast majority - Riders have enough trouble negotiating difficult and demanding courses which test their powers of endurance and averting pitfalls in an inherently dangerous sport. Riding the TDF is every budding cyclists dream so the least the public should do, is treat them with respect - Finally its unedifying to hear the prolonged booing which is a poor reflection on the French public.
 
Aug 2, 2012
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today marc madiot speaks about lack of credibility of team sky /cycling as team sky are not members of MPCC

he should ask how come only 8 of 18 world tour teams are members

anyone thinking that those 8 teams who are members of MPCC are totally cleans?

Mark L
 
Armchairclimber - Battered Wife Syndrome as described there is a well-documented thing, which is why I chose it as an analogy. Most circumstances in which characteristics akin to it are visible are nothing like as traumatic or painful as the experience of an actual cheated or abused spouse.

yaco - it may be unedifying to hear booing, but it does not provide an unsafe working environment. I clearly separate out the fans who are providing a physical threat to riders from those who are simply voicing their frustrations. And, you know, you hear thunderous boos regularly at football matches when a team is playing poorly or if an unpopular team is winning. Fans take time off work and travel across the continent to see the Tour. As I said, at many events, sure, just vote with your feet and don't go. But when you've spent that money, made that commitment, only to find out a few days beforehand that the entire system charged with maintaining the integrity of the sport is unable to defend itself from teams with big bucks who refused to play by the unwritten rules (that, in-race, they're usually very keen on since it usually benefits them) and seemingly buying themselves immunity, what you're watching is not what you came to see. And if that's how you perceive it, it's pretty unedifying to see a ruthless, unapologetic power play from a team you perceive as being able to buy off justice, at least as unedifying as it is to hear a few people booing.

And the thing is, if the fans vote with their feet, it's only at the smaller events that this will be felt. There's no ticketed revenue at cycling, so ASO won't feel it in their pocket if the number of fans on the Alpe is fewer (if anything it might be a good thing as it would be safer from the usual idiots, not just the ones who could potentially wish to harm riders, but the usual selfie-takers, costume wearers, and fools wearing huge flags and capes running alongside the riders) - but it is precisely at the biggest events that the effect of the fan dissatisfaction needs to be felt. The fans don't want to protest the Tour du Poitou-Charentes or the Boucles de la Mayenne, and reducing the number of fans or TV viewers of smaller races like that can potentially kill them whereas the Tour is a huge media juggernaut that won't miss them. The fans seemed plenty happy to cheer for Primož Roglič yesterday, because he was putting time into Sky. They similarly are still intent on booing Sky. And as long as that's as far as it goes, I see no problem with that. Sure, it's a negative reaction, but the péloton isn't a universally positive place either. Plenty of negative riding and cat-calling. I don't condone anybody spitting at the riders, I think it's disgusting, but at the same time I remember Filippo Simeoni and Emanuele Sella both getting showered with spit by fellow riders for talking to anti-doping enforcement, and think, well, there are likely a few hypocrites out there who felt it not a problem that these riders were being spat at by their colleagues, but find it a problem when the fans react similarly. Were people this upset about the fans booing Vino when he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2010?
 
Sep 4, 2016
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Have you actually looked into the case against Froome and listen to what the expert professor from Copenhagen University have written and told on tv ?? Maybe try to listen to people how is more expert in sport science than you are.
 
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BetOrLose said:
Have you actually looked into the case against Froome and listen to what the expert professor from Copenhagen University have written and told on tv ?? Maybe try to listen to people how is more expert in sport science than you are.
There's an awful lot of people more expert than me arguing both sides of the coin. Most of the arguments in favour of Froome do not suggest he was innocent of abusing the salbutamol regulations but that the procedure of testing is in and of itself flawed. The redrawing of the boundaries following the Froome rule sure give the impression of the lines being redrawn to prevent the same issue arising again, but also leaves the impression that should anybody else fall foul in the same way as Froome, they would not get the same clemency. But we don't know, since who knows how many of these cases haven't been public? All the fans can go on is what they're shown, and a lot of the time, things happen that can be explained adequately with multiple scientific justifications, and the balance of logic and probability comes into it. "A rider has tested for double the maximum allowable level of a controlled substance. Explain how this is possible with doping/explain how this is possible without doping" - I'm sure some rational arguments on either side can be made, but one side is much easier to argue, no? Instead we got bogged down for an age over whether salbutamol was performance-enhancing or not, which was irrelevant.

Most fans are not degree-level sports scientists, nor should they have to be to follow the sport.
 
Jan 11, 2018
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Re: Calling out dopers, ignoring others, Omertà and hypocris

I've no problem with the booing, as it poses no physical risk and is based on legitimate grievances and reasons for dislike. It's part of sport, for better or worse. I don't see why cycling should be immune from it. The idea of simply being nice for the sake of athletes trying to fulfil their life dreams is ludicrous in a sport as dirty as cycling - pro sport is business, and ever rider who signs up for it accepts everything that comes with it, whether or not they personally choose to practice the darker arts of the sport.

I do wonder though, how much we fans have a right to complain. Pro cyclists have been cheating, lying, practicing omerta and being all kinds of unpleasant for decades, yet millions of fans keep turning up at races and watching on tv, and, while finding sponsors continues to be a problem, there continue to be enough businesses and governments willing to put enough money in to keep things ticking over. Continued support equals tacit acceptance of bad behaviour and corrupt governance.

I suppose you could argue that people go along only to support the 'good' teams and riders, however each person chooses to define that. But I'd counter that every pro team, by continuing to participate in the sport while only making the minimum of fuss at the state of things, is complicit in the negatives that scar it. A nice guy like Durbo, in pleading public acceptance of the nature and condition of the sport, is scarcely better than the guys doping their way to GT glory. Almost no-one stands up to Sky's shenanigans because the vast majority of the other riders and team staff are themselves hopelessly compromised. Stones and glass houses. As a result we the fans can't compartmentalise our support that easily - as long as the 'good' guys keep playing by, accepting and even covering for the bad guys' rules, then barracking for one still benefits and vindicates the other, and the governance that permits or encourages it.

As long as the fans keep watching, and at this point after everything you have to think that they will, nothing in the sport will change, left to its own devices. There may be other catalysts to bring about change, but public opinion won't be one of them.
 
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ebandit said:
today marc madiot speaks about lack of credibility of team sky /cycling as team sky are not members of MPCC

he should ask how come only 8 of 18 world tour teams are members

anyone thinking that those 8 teams who are members of MPCC are totally cleans?

Mark L
MPCC started in 2007 with the genuine intention of changing cycling, in the period when a lot of dopers were caught in the Tour. Today those eight teams are what's left of the "New Cycling". They haven't been involved in any major scandals. You can never know for sure what's happening at which team, but some of these teams are more likely to be clean than others.

If they want the booing to stop, there's a solution: throw Team Sky out. Their abuse of TUEs should be more than enough to ban the entire team. The booing is an expression of frustration by cycling fans who realize what's going on, that there is still a "cyclisme à deux vitesses".
 
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Pantani_lives said:
ebandit said:
today marc madiot speaks about lack of credibility of team sky /cycling as team sky are not members of MPCC

he should ask how come only 8 of 18 world tour teams are members

anyone thinking that those 8 teams who are members of MPCC are totally cleans?

Mark L
MPCC started in 2007 with the genuine intention of changing cycling, in the period when a lot of dopers were caught in the Tour. Today those eight teams are what's left of the "New Cycling". They haven't been involved in any major scandals. You can never know for sure what's happening at which team, but some of these teams are more likely to be clean than others.
AG2R had a few positives in 2012-2013 and had to retract for Critérium du Dauphiné. The fact that they did not race shows that they are (or were) willing to change things.

On the other hand, teams like Astana, Mitchelton-Scott and Lotto-Jumbo who briefly joined the MPCC before departing at the first complication are dangerous for the sport. If we want the sport to be credible, that is.
 
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Pantani_lives said:
ebandit said:
today marc madiot speaks about lack of credibility of team sky /cycling as team sky are not members of MPCC

he should ask how come only 8 of 18 world tour teams are members

anyone thinking that those 8 teams who are members of MPCC are totally cleans?

Mark L
MPCC started in 2007 with the genuine intention of changing cycling, in the period when a lot of dopers were caught in the Tour. Today those eight teams are what's left of the "New Cycling". They haven't been involved in any major scandals. You can never know for sure what's happening at which team, but some of these teams are more likely to be clean than others.



If they want the booing to stop, there's a solution: throw Team Sky out. Their abuse of TUEs should be more than enough to ban the entire team. The booing is an expression of frustration by cycling fans who realize what's going on, that there is still a "cyclisme à deux vitesses".
Can you categorically state that other teams never use TUE's ? Otherwise your post has little merit.
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
This seems as good a place as any to discuss the likes of Koen de Kort and Luke Durbridge, who have been taking to twitter to tell fans not to boo. Durbridge saying "if you don't like cycling don't come to watch" as if it's impossible to differentiate between a like of the actual sport of cycling and a dislike of the baggage that it carries, and de Kort even stating that, in fact, it is us, the fans, who are ruining cycling, by voicing displeasure. So I thought I'd write an open letter to Koen and Luke.

Koen de Kort said:
On another note. Please respect every and ALL riders. Let us all just do our race and please stop the booing. Enough now. Cycling is such a great sport, don't ruin it.
Luke Durbridge said:
What I sore from the fans on the final climb today towards @TeamSky was disgraceful. We are all human and we are all suffering regardless what jerseys we have on. If you don’t like cycling don’t come to watch!!
Dear Koen, dear Luke.

I have nothing against either of you personally, and never have. You presumably do not have anything against me, since the chances that either of you follow the forum is pretty slim and I don't recall having met either of you at any of the races I've been to. I am not a professional athlete and would never profess to have the talent or the dedication to do what you do, and I appreciate that it must be pretty detrimental to your motivation to travel through a sea of boos and hear what you feel is disrespect for the suffering you and your colleagues go through. But before you start telling the fans how to behave, how about thinking about it from the other side of the fence.

Road cycling is not football, it is not basketball, it is not ice hockey, baseball, or whatever other sport you can care to name which has ticketed revenues. There is no fixed home of cycling where we fans can all congregate almost every week to develop a connection to our home teams and home riders, and we don't get to see the whole event, just a minuscule part. But even if events aren't ticketed, many fans have to sacrifice plenty to follow the sport they love. I've trapsed up the sun-drenched face of a low altitude mountain in 40º heat to stake out a place three hours before the riders arrive, to see a few fleeting seconds of the action. I've been one of a hundred people crowded around a minuscule battery-powered TV unit trying to capture the end of a mountain stage that we'd seen go past minutes earlier on a hand-held aerial. There are people who wait out in freezing rain for hours in the Classics waiting for a chance that maybe, just maybe, their favourite rider will lurch past first, spitting mud into their face from the cobbles his wheels are punching their way along. I spend long hours on cycling forums, following races, assessing CQ ranking, designing races. I have 19.000 posts on this board, so I'd like to think that it's pretty self-evident that I have a passion for this sport. But at the same time, we don't get paid for this. You do. You're the ones with the talent and the aptitude, and you're the ones who are on the inside. We're not. We can't change it, we just get what we're given.

But that doesn't mean we're just faceless cheering automatons, who don't have great love and respect for the sport ourselves. We aren't here because we just want to cheer mindlessly. It's not our job. We're here as fans of the sport, because we want to see it enthrall and excite us the way it was when we became fans in the first place, which is different for all of us. We want to believe that we're watching the best in the world duke it out and wowing us with their strength, their fortitude, their resolve, their talent.

Right now, we cannot do that.

We cannot do that because we have just seen the entire fabric of anti-doping, the only thing that truly protects the integrity of the competition, come crumbling down, and hide in the corner like a startled cat in the face of the lawyers of big money.

We've never pretended cycling was perfect, but we've always loved it despite its flaws, despite its sins. At this point, we fans are like the battered wife, cheated on and abused, who keeps believing this time he's changed, this time he means it, he really does love me and he's sorry for all the pain he's caused me. We stuck with the sport through Festina, through Puerto, through Oil for Drugs, through Humanplasma, through the Reasoned Decision. We're willing to put up with a lot, you'd think. But through all of it, we had that belief that anti-doping's genuine aim was to prevent doping in sport, and even if we had concerns about how they went about their business, we were willing to accept it.

But following the Froome decision, we've seen WADA wilfully backtrack its own rules to exonerate a man whose physical and medical backstory now has more inconsistencies and contradictions than Kane, and are asked to believe that the greatest physical specimen in the history of cycling is a man who has dozens of ailments which, like Mr. Burns on the Simpsons, are perfectly in balance with one another so none of them actually detract from his cycling performance; it feels like we have literally seen "justice" being bought before our eyes, by a team which represents everything that is wrong with the sport - cold, calculating and reducing everything to watt numbers, lacking in the passion and the flair and the grit that has always attracted the fans; with a colossal budget that means they can not only purchase top 10 candidate riders and set them to work as middling domestiques in a colossally strong mountain train, but can also raid and steal riders that other teams have had in their developmental wings, profiting off others' hard work too; a racing style which tightly controls and stifles any of the kind of attractive racing that helps attract fans to the sport; perceived favour from the UCI and WADA which both happened for periods of the last few years to be run by people who have a level of connection to the organisation; the ability to filibuster or obfuscate any hardship while lying through your teeth (and easily provable lies, too, such as Cope visiting Pooley, buses that go before riders do interviews with them, and Rowe claiming not to have thrown down that guy's banner); bullying (both internal and external, via the likes of Sutton, and via the likes of Kennaugh belittling Pooley and Phil Deignan airing Pauline Ferrand-Prévot's private life in retribution for her being critical of Armitstead's pre-Olympic reprieve for missing doping tests); the implication of the press being bought off (Brailsford trying to sell "a more positive story" and trying to buy off Matt Lawton with group rides and free gear); and the generation out of thin air of super talents and transformations that, in prior generations, could only be explicable with doping. I know that, in the current péloton, you cannot make those implications without repercussion, and I get that. Even George Bennett issued a climb-down from his post-stage comments on Jafferau after they were taken to mean something other than what was apparently intended. But in Team Sky, fans see a boogeyman: a ruthless, undefeatable, suffocating beast that takes away all that is fun about the sport, and whose success is built on the back of nepotism, vulgar waving of the chequebook, and then served with an almighty dollop of unbearable smugness and hypocrisy.

Luke: perhaps you're right, we should be voting with our feet. At many races, that's fine. But the biggest races of the year are ones that fans have planned out months in advance, long before the latest issues - that are why Sky are drawing this hostile reaction - became public. Certainly Sky were not popular beforehand, and we've all heard the stories about the 2015 Tour too. But some fans have travelled across countries, across continents, even from distant parts of the world to watch the Tour de France. They'll have spent hundreds, thousands, of Euros, of US, Canadian, Australian dollars, pounds, kroner, rials, rubles, lira, whatever, to get flights, to hire motorhomes, to drive hundreds of kilometres to remote distant French countryside, up treacherous roads and down again. When you've made that commitment - which, remember, we aren't being paid to do - just for the pleasure of seeing some of your heroes pass by for a few fleeting seconds, without the joy of necessarily seeing the triumph of the end of it, it's pretty hard to vote with your feet and just not turn up. And besides, who would miss a few hundred people on the Alpe d'Huez among the thousands? It's not like ASO will see a drop in ticketed income. So how is a fan to voice their disapproval? So long as they only voice their disapproval, then why is that a bad thing? I certainly do not condone the idiot who tried to slap or shove Froome, any more than I condone the idiot who allegedly threw urine at him a few years ago. But giving riders an open thumbs down or booing the riders, the team, that represents everything that is hurting the sport in the public's eye, it doesn't physically harm anybody. Footballers routinely go through worse, often from their own fans.

And remember, Koen: those same fans you are admonishing as the people who are ruining cycling are the ones whose enthusiasm and positivity reduced Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig to tears of happiness, as she was so overcome with joy at the support and the love she was feeling from fans, chanting her name and cheering her on as she made her attack over the Romme and Colombière. So there's still plenty of room for positivity and support among the fans of the sport; the fans were still plenty willing to cheer, to celebrate, to love and to respect the riders during La Course, and nobody seemed to have any problem with Omar Fraile today even as he relegated the patriotic favourite to 2nd place. The fans aren't just cheering indiscriminately; they are showing support and respect for the riders they support and respect, and are not showing support and respect for riders that they do not support or respect.

Neither of you are fools, and I'd like to think that, unlike Dave Brailsford, you don't think that all of us fans are fools either. Neither of you really ought to feel like you're part of the part of the péloton that is getting the negative reaction either. But if you do feel like you are, instead of wondering why the audience isn't clapping on command like a dancing bear, maybe wonder why it was that part of the péloton lost the respect of its audience before you accuse that audience of ruining the sport.

With kindest regards.

I agree ... it's hard to control booing.

But, IF you are in any way condoning actions such as spitting and the throwing of liquids (piss, to be frank) on Sky riders because of your suspicions ... then your spin has some serious runs in it.
 
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The boos from the French fans are disgraceful. It’s not about the salbutamol either as we all heard the torrent of disapproval from the “fans” last year as Froome was catching up to Bardet in the itt. It felt awkward, petty and nationalistic then and it still does, despite any controversy this year. French journalists have a lot of responsibility for stoking the flames and increasing animosity towards team sky as a whole. They show a lack of journalistic integrity and reduces their profession rumors and “fake news” when facts and authorities are no longer trusted and they assume conspiracy and fraud without any proof. I still remember the esquire article where Antoine Vayer was on record accusing Froome of using a motor, calling him a mutant, and when asked what could be put forward as proof that CF is clean that he would believe answered “nothing”. That’s basically this forum, which is scary to think about when he’s not a forum dweller but actually a journalist at Le Monde...
 
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yaco said:
Doesn't change the fact that booing is a negative reaction - There are many talented riders in the peleton who fans can cheer and support in a positive way - And it doesn't change the fact that despite the beautiful prose provided by LS, the French public continue to embarrass themselves with their unsavoury and uncouth behaviour during the TDF - Yes, Sky is an unpopular team but they don't attract such poor behaviour from fans in other countries - Let's see how much booing Sky attracts in the Vuelta - I fully understand the reaction of De Kort and Durbridge who want to compete in the biggest race in the UCI calendar in a warm and supportive environment - Frankly the riders and teams have been EXTREMELY diplomatic in their attitude towards the public - Maybe lessons can be learnt from the public - I doubt it !
Booing is done in all popular sports. It's part of sport, in fact, and an expression of passion. The voice of the little guy. Sun and shadow, otherwise everything is bland. LS said it best.
 
Feb 10, 2010
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yaco said:
Doesn't change the fact that booing is a negative reaction
It's not negative. It's honest. Reasonable people have a reaction when they see still more dopers climbing the podium.
 

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