Tag Archives: cycling

"Let's Fix This Bloody Sport"

It’s a hard habit to break. Even tonight I came home, turned the telly on at 7PM and hopped to ITV 4. Alas, the tour is over now, but despite all the controversy I still enjoyed it. Cycling Weekly got it badly wrong when they called for the tour to stop early. Whilst it is clearly wrong that top line cyclists like Alexandr Vinokourov, Michael Rasmusen and Iban Mayo doped to improve their form it is far more important that this is the first year I’ve known in which favourites were caught and dealt with promptly.

David Millar and his fellow majority of clean riders in the Peloton are rightly getting very angry at many of his fellow sportsmen who clearly are taking a long time to wake up. How far back the culture of doping goes is hard to guess. Tom Simpson certainly died whilst doping and tales of doping from that period on are all over the place. Sadly there’s little interest in the veterans in tarnishing their reputation and coming clean, especially when like Bjarne Riis they were running a team. However, slowly the truth is emerging and perhaps we’re looking at the end of a scandal that has lasted several generations. That’s not to say all successful riders doped , there’s clearly been a number of outstanding riders such as Lance Armstrong and Miguel Indurain who by skill and genetics were able to operate on a different level. That said we do know almost certainly that Bjarne Riis and Marco Pantani doped their way to a yellow jersey.

It will be very interesting to see what shape of tour ASO (the TDF’s organisers) pick to run with when they announce in October. There’s talk of national teams, Millar’s moved to a new American team who appear to have a much stronger anti-doping regime than anyone else and also there’s a strong possibility of another stage to reach London in the coming years. However there are many issues to be resolved in cycling which essentially boil down to arguments between the organisers of the tour and the organisers of elite cycling over who has real power. If they can agree on entering national teams then a UK team is certainly on the cards in ’09 if not ’08. In the longer term a cleaner tour will only mean good things for the sport of cycling in the UK, as it will become only easier to enter our clean athletes and hope for success on a fair basis.

Roll on Tour ’08

Cycle Safety and Burden Of Proof

Guardian Unlimited Observer | UK News | Driver fury over Euro cycle laws

This has actually been in the pipeline for sometime… but of course, being the UK, the media and policiticans have sleepwalked into this.

Personally, I think it would be good if you went nearly the way this legislation goes and place the burden of proof on the driver of the largest vehicle in any accident to show they were driving responsibly.

Look at it this way, a car jumps a red light, and hits a bike, the cyclist gets injured, and the car gets damaged. A cyclist jumps a red light, and hits a car, the cyclist gets injured and the car gets damaged….

The European Commission document says: ‘Motor vehicles cause most accidents. Whoever is responsible, pedestrians and cyclists usually suffer more. In some member states the cyclist is covered by the insurance of the vehicle involved in the accident irrespective of whether the driver is at fault.’

The really impressive thing at the end of the day is that by the very nature of the feriocious storm the majority of car drivers are bringing up they are showing precisely how much they despise a group of people on the roads merely for riding bikes.

Of course, the only real reason the car drivers are scared is because it would cost them an extra 50 quid a year. And this talk of cyclists as mass law breakers is more than a little bit rich when most drivers on the road regularly break speed limits that cyclists have to work damn hard to reach anywhere near.

This idea sounds interesing…

Guardian Unlimited Observer | Leaders | Traffic calming