After a winter away from the madness of the sporting world 'Nicks Sports Rant' is back. However, having taken a look around the world sports media its as though I have never been away. Lance Armstrong denies more doping allegations, Football clubs are going bankrupt, and Footballs top fat cats (Lord Triesman in particular) are putting their feet in more poop than can be found on an inner city verge.
So the question that hovers above my keyboard is just what to rant about first, with my options being so plentiful. I have plumped for Lance Armstrong. The many followers of 'Nicks sports rant' will know already that I have a more than merely dim view of Lance Armstrong's achievements in a sport that is rotten to the core. It still irks me that the man commands such respect from the sporting world despite seemingly being caught up in every doping scandal that hits cycling. What infuriates me even more is that he offsets these doubts with his recovery from cancer which seems to cover him from being found guilty of cheating.
Mere mortals such as Floyd Landis who do not have a pity screen to cower behind are also a little annoyed that they are the only ones being caught whilst Armstrong continues to make his millions.
Before I go on I feel I must put things into context for you the reader. Floyd Landis (a former team mate of Armstrong's and former winner of the 'Tour De France') has finally given up trying to suggest he was innocent of doping and instead has decided to come out and dish the dirt on the rest of the cycling community and in particular Armstrong and other US riders. In one e-mail obtained by the Wall Street Journal he even accused Armstrong of hiding bags of blood in a refrigerator in his closet, so that he could then inject it during off time in long races such as the 'Tour De France'.
Of course Armstrong has denied the allegations. What truly vexes me though is that Cycling's governing bodies seem to actively disregard the allegations. Pat Mcquaid the head of the International Cycling Union was quoted as saying that the allegations were "scandalous and mischievous" and that "coming out now with things from the past could only damage the sport". Pat Mcquaid's comments must be put into context however. In 2007 he clashed with authorities in Stuttgart that wanted racer Paulo Bettini banned for failing to comply with drugs testing. Mcquaid backed Bettini but then fined two other riders for the same offense. Therefore when you look deeper into his statement it becomes vividly clear that what he really means is "can we not just sweep all this drug abuse under the carpet"!
The fact is that the cycling world bodies protecting high profile drug cheats are irreparably damaging the sport and the issue isn't about to go away because now the US law authorities are involved. In fact investigator Jeff Novitzky is investigating Landis's claims and he is the very same investigator that blew the lid on the BALCO scandal that culminated in Marion Jones (disgraced multi Olympic gold medalist) being jailed for drug abuse and lying to police. Therefore it seems only a matter of time before some bigger balls begin to get busted. This at the end of the day though is what cycling needs, a fresh start with new hero's who don't stash blood bags in their closets.