By Jen Benepe
An organization created to protect the rights of professional cyclists while also establishing their credibility as clean riders has issued a public memo to journalists at the Tour de France asking them to stop maligning Chris Froome.
The memo from the Cyclistes Professionels Associes decries any innuendo or direct accusation against Tour de France Yellow Jersey holder, and asks that journalists and others in the cycling camp stop slinging dirt.
The truth is, they have been doing so, openly and behind his back.
Few seem to believe he could have achieved such a run up Mont Ventoux, and indeed today, the best time trial results of the Tour without “juice,” “benzina,” (Italian for gas,) “drogues,” and “le dopage,” which I don’t even have to translate for you.
Even the shrug of the shoulder, the wink, and the “I don’t know,” answer are suggestive that some people are suspicious.
Signed by their press agent, Laura Mora, the statement says that the mud slinging has been done without evidence, and that allegedly is also true.
“It’s not fair to blame someone without evidence against him – said Gianni Bugno, president of theCPA – and we demand more respect for Chris and for all the riders .. We are witnessing a daily attack against the dignity of the riders in a manner that can no longer be tolerated. “
Yesterday, after Froome was still in the Yellow Jersey after a major breakaway of 26 riders, which eventually was led by one rider to the finish (Rui Costa), a reporter asked Froome in English if he still had a condition called Bilharoze, which is a parasite that causes lesions on the legs, and is treated with a Biltricide.
What was the reason for this question, one may ask, as our ears pricked up. Froome answered that it was a “personal question,” but no he no longer had it and hasn’t had it for 6 months.
But questions have been swirling all around, which is only natural given that we are still in the year of the Armstrong-Oprah confessions on television, and the huge incomparability of the suspensions given to some riders (6 months, a year, or two,) versus the lifetime ban for Armstrong.
Why do you think UCI could not name the seven winners since Armstrong has been banned and his 7 Tour de France wins taken away? Because he was the only one who was taking drugs? Maybe the public believes that, but none of the reporters do.
“Many journalists like David Walsh have to keep up a story to stay in the headlines,” said an ex-pro and many times track champion in the United States who asked not to be identified for the article. “But I think that doping is really down, and we are moving forward to a different time.”
Walsh’s book “L.A. Confidential” too was full of innuendo and lacked real proof other than the statements of people who may or may not have an ax to grind with Armstrong. Just because he was right, doesn’t meant the technique was correct.
And many of Walsh’s sources, like the soigneuse Emma O’Reilly were paid handsomely by him for their statements, which is in itself journalistic suicide.