Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Wiggins, Sky

I don't know any more than the next casual observer about the whole Team Sky, Wiggins 'scandal'. Ok, perhaps just a little bit, but nothing that can't be easily found online or in the press. So I have no insights, and no opinions on his/their guilt or otherwise. I do, however, have some observations:

  1. It seems slightly odd to me that the UCI have only really thought fit to comment on the issue (via Brain Cookson's French successor whose name eludes me and I can't be bothered to look up) after the DCMS committee reported.  Were they not that bothered? Did they want someone else to break cover? Are they only reacting now out of embarrassment?
  2.  It strikes me as a peculiarly British trait for a British Parliamentary body (said DCMS committee) to take it upon itself to denounce a British team and a British winner in international sport for "crossing an ethical line" (note: not breaking the rules). I can't dismiss the suspicion that such an investigation would either never have been instigated by the equivalent Parliamentary body in France, Spain, Italy, and if it had, the findings would either have been kept under wraps, and/or made much less of. Maybe I should be pleased about that, evidence of the continued existence of the British sense of fair play and all that, but I'm not. I don't understand this tendency to seek feet of clay in our own. Especially when the investigating body has no jurisdiction to examine the practices of foreign teams, thus robbing their conclusions of any sense of comparison, context or perspective
  3. Within the cycle sport-following community, there seems to be disappointment, if less outright condemnation. And whichever reaction it is, it seems to me to be driven by the view that the Sky problem exists not necessarily because of what they did, but because of the song-and-dance they made at the outset about being demonstrably clean and different - and they're not. We don't blame them for that - we know that pro cycling is a rough, tough, unforgiving sport, and working with, even bending, the rules is likely to be widespread and a prerequisite for success - but we do blame them for trying to sell us something. And who knows how many hideously-overpriced jerseys, caps and bidons they shifted on the back of that
  4. Those people calling for Sky to be disbanded are either massive hypocrites (Landis), or naked opportunists (other pro teams). Investigate every team that's won a Grand Tour or a Classic in the last 8 years to the same level as Sky, then get back to me.
I'm no Sky fanboy. I've never bought or worn their kit or anything endorsed by them, I don't especially identify them as 'British', and all the preceding isn't to defend them. It's just that I don't like humbug, of which there's a lot sloshing around at the moment.

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