- May 3, 2010
Mambo95 said:But Walsh and Kimmage don't often write about cycling. Walsh, for example, writes mostly about rugby, but I've yet to see him stand up in a six nations press conference and ask how the players got so big. Why not? Perhaps because he'd lose access and rugby's important to his income?
Really? Sounds like you are playing fast and loose with the facts to suit your agenda.
He talked about doping and rugby in the NYVelocity interview. The interview sums it up nicely, shame that L'Equipe didn't stay the course but thank god for Walsh, Kimmage and others with some guts and integrity.
AS: Part of this blog post also says that Pierre's favorite sport is rugby, and it says that in rugby dope testing is virtually non-existent. Is it hypocritical for you guys to follow rugby yet tear down cycling?
DW: [...] I would have no hesitation in addressing that...I've written loads of doping stuff about rugby, I've written loads of doping stuff about athletics, I've written loads of doping stuff about swimming. Cycling is just one other sport, although you'd have to say one that has a very particular and very hard to eradicate problem.
AS: Ok, I'm going to stop being devil's advocate and go back to being myself.
DW: I'm sorry if I sound antagonistic, I'm not. But I'm just defending myself, I believe in what I do.
AS: I just thought this posting was a good crystallization of a lot of what I see on forums when people complain about you guys.
DW: Sure. People genuinely believe this. But this argument, to say that rugby is Pierre's favorite sport, is ridiculous. This guy started out in life as the best cycling writer in l'Equipe. In 1999 when Lance won his first Tour, Pierre was The Man. When l'Equipe was sending someone to interview Lance in Texas, I think it was 1997 during his year out in cancer rehab, l'Equipe sent Pierre, because he was their best cycling guy. He was the guy who would write the most engaging piece. He loved the sport.
He then saw how corrupt it was in 1998, and he said to his bosses at l'Equipe "I will only cover this sport now if you allow me to cover doping in this sport. Because until I believe these guys are riding in some way that's fair, starting from the same line, all of them, there's no point in writing about the results. Because they mean NOTHING."
And l'Equipe says, "Yeah, Pierre, we think that's right, because doping is a scourge in the sport. Do it." Of course, Pierre, being Pierre, did it so well that a lot of the riders were refusing to talk to him. And to put pressure on the newspaper, a lot of the riders said they wouldn't speak to Pierre's colleagues who didn't give a damn about doping. Those guys went to Pierre's bosses and said, "Look, we can't do our job because this guy is always writing about doping."
And l'Equipe found itself in a very difficult position, because most of their cycling coverage wasn't doping. All of Pierre's writing was on doping, but they write 40 pages about cycling, there might be one piece about doping. So they had a problem. They felt that their coverage was being undermined by Pierre's reputation as the guy who always asked about doping, so they tried to silence Pierre. Pierre went to l'Equipe, and said, "The guys who complained about me asking about doping, have engaged in pot belge parties WITH RIDERS. And you listen to their complaints."
And of course l'Equipe freaked when Pierre talked about their journalists who were engaged in pot belge parties. But it was true. And in the end Pierre was in a situation where they basically wanted to get rid of him on this basis, he had the usual responsibilites of mortgage, having to get a job, and basically l'Equipe came to a good financial settlement with Pierre, to ease him out provided Pierre wouldn't talk too freely about his colleagues. Pierre needed to live, so that's how Pierre ended his time with l'Equipe.
It was a story that told you that ultimately, people whose guiding principle is the bottom line will always do what's best for the bottom line. The ASO have reacted in the same way. My view is that when the chips are down, and we're talking about the big stakes, the UCI will always act the same. It will protect the interests of cycling. What I mean when I say that is they'll protect the commercial interests of cycling.