Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock in a dark cave with earmuffs on, you will have heard by now about the statement issued earlier today by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) regarding the findings of their investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. This was followed a few hours later by a meticulous 200-page summary of their full 1,000-page report. Even in ‘summary’ form – we’re still digesting it here, but suffice to say that parts of it read like a Raymond Chandler novel – the evidence and testimony presented by 26 witnesses (including 11 of Armstrong’s former teammates) is as unambiguous as it is comprehensive. At the same time George Hincapie, Armstrong’s most trusted lieutenant, released a statement on his personal website, as did Michael Barry.
Here at VeloVoices we like to express the positive side of cycling fandom, but we are not blind to its harsh realities either. We have previously discussed how we felt about Armstrong’s decision not to contest USADA’s charges against him, but in truth what is important is not what we say on the subject, but what you say about it. In recent months we have brought you Tweets of the Week specials capturing a cross-section of the cycling community’s views in reaction to USADA’s decision to proceed against Armstrong in June and, a little over seven weeks ago, the announcement that he would not call for a hearing. Some of these views we agree with, others we don’t. But what is important is that these are the honest thoughts of fans all over the world who, like us, care deeply and passionately about cycling.
While everyone else is rolling out official statements, we are going to take a step back, absorb USADA’s findings and listen to the depth and breadth of commentary across social media. It’s your voices that matter at a time like this.
For now, the series of tweets below is our only word on the subject. But, like the Terminator, we’ll be back with a round-up of the fall-out from this most significant of days.
Thanks for your patience.
Jack, Kitty, Panache, Sheree & Tim
We’re saying nothing about #USADA for the moment. But as always we’ll bring a summary of what everyone else is saying over the next few days
BMC’s Philippe Gilbert is not performing quite as one might have anticipated given his stellar 2011. The reason: problems with his teeth. More specifically an infected jaw which systemically affects the functioning of one’s entire body and immune system.
Not unnaturally, PhilGil’s teething troubles have prompted a fair bit of discussion over the airwaves. I can’t pretend to have all the answers but I have set out below why riders – professionals and amateurs – have these issues and what they could sensibly do to prevent them. And no, I’m not a dentist but neither do I fall into the category of knowing just enough to be dangerous!
Many professional cyclists suffer from considerable acid erosion of the tooth enamel on account of the sugary drinks and snacks they constantly consume while in the saddle. This makes them more vulnerable to caries (tooth decay). Typically, if left untreated, the caries invades the tooth, killing the pulp leading to abscesses and poisoning of the blood, as in the case of Mark Cavendish a couple of years ago and now Gilbert. This can result in tooth loss, as in the case of Tom Boonen, who at one time I feared might become Toothless Tom on account of his numerous extractions. Continue reading →