“Lance Armstrong shelves plan to set up drug testing program.”
That’s the headline on Yahoo News this morning. What a joke. Here’s a short list of recent cycling happenings that are much more newsworthy and significant than Lance and his doping problems.
1) “First Women’s Pro Cycling race held in Middle East” – The Tour of Qatar this year introduced a women’s race which became the first Pro Women’s cycling event ever held in the Middle East. Usually, the only stories we hear coming out of the Middle East involve people blowing themselves up. This would have been a great feel good story to shed a little positive light on an area of the world that is greatly misunderstood. But, not for Yahoo.
2) “Tour of California boasts a Tour de France Quality Field” – Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis, Carlos Sastre, Fabian Cancellara, Levi Leipheimer, the Schleck Brothers, George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen, Tyler Hamilton, Oscar Freire, Ivan Basso…the list goes on. There are multiple current and former National Champions, World Champions, Tour de France Champions, and Giro d’Italia Champions in this years ToC. This is easily one of the best fields ever assembled on American soil. The start list reads like the Tour de France but it’s happening in California. It’s absolutely incredible. But, not to Yahoo.
3) “Lance Armstrong creates U23 team to fight cancer” – If you’re compelled to use a Lance story as the draw for your readership then how about this one instead of the same tired old story over and over: Lance created an U23 team for 2009, the Trek-Livestrong Team, as a part of the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Global Cancer Initiative. The team is run by the highly successful and now retired pro cyclist Axel Merckx, son of the best cyclist ever, Eddie Merckx. And it features Junior World Time Trial Champion, Taylor Phinney, who is the offspring of a Tour de France stage winner and an Olympic Gold Medalist. That’s some really cool stuff! But, not to Yahoo.
4) “Cyclist Dies in his sleep at Tour of Qatar” – It’s not a happy story, but it’s a significant story when a healthy 22 year old dies in his sleep during a professional bike race. Of course, this will lead to people assuming drug use, but the UCI’s Passport Program and doping controls showed nothing unusual in the rider’s body. The Stage that followed was reduced to 40K and was neutralized out of respect for the fallen rider, Frederiek Nolf, who was in his first year as a professional. The cycling community mourned. But, not Yahoo.
5) “Belgian Marianne Vos takes World’s win; American Katie Compton on the Podium” – anyone who’s tired of the millions of dollars, egos, and all around bullshit of most men’s professional sports, may find a breath of fresh air in following some women’s sports. I’m partial to cycling of course. With the lack of high paychecks and media coverage, you will be watching the best of the best in sports competition being played out by people who really, REALLY love what they do. Marianne Vos won the 2009 World Cyclocross Championship, becoming the only woman ever to win a World title in the Road, Track and Cyclocross disciplines. An amazing feat. But, not to Yahoo.
There you go. 5 stories with significantly more newsworthiness than Lance and doping controls. Doping is not the only story in cycling. Let me say that again. Doping IS NOT the only story in cycling. A lot of wonderful things happen in this sport. Perhaps we can focus on some of those things, Yahoo?