I wrote this several months back when the original Lance Armstrong stuff started flying. I shared it with a few folks. In light of Johan’s Devil statement in the past 24 hours I figured I’d update it a bit & throw it up. It all started as I watched ‘Usual Suspects’ and mentioned the quote below to a friend. What follows is the quote and the updated bit.
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” - The Usual Suspects
While the doping plays out in our headlines daily I mentioned the above quote and somebody said “yeah Lance is the Devil!”
I replied “nope”
“Nope not Johan”
I replied “If we apply that idea (one of the the devil) it has to be taken in the context of not seven tour wins. Nor can we administer it to a coach. Don’t get me wrong, they are the actionable party and complicit thus shouldn’t be released from guilt. In this instance the devil isn’t even doping. It’s the culture of success. Winning outside of your ability and using a tool unsanctioned is cheating. This was not everyone but as we are now seeing … it was many.”
“Cycling has been this way for a long, long time. Change the culture, eviscerate it if you want it clean. But, don’t pretend the dark culture that taints the pursuit of success will no longer exist because the biggest players are busted. If we learn anything from the drug trade it’s that when one dealer goes down - five are laying in wait to take their place. Because the devil isn’t the rider, it’s the aggregate. It’s them the media who celebrates the wins and the dope busts with ad revenue, it’s the equipment manufacturer who if given the opportunity would they really dethrone their champion? And, it’s the riders and coaches who know they thin gray line of success can often be bridged by a pharmaceutical remedy. Shit, the devil is us as we’ve managed to convince ourselves that it’s not systemic each time a major bust goes down. “It will get clean” we cry! But the reality the pros using the dope are just a symptom of the overall disease.”
“So apply this to anyone DiLuca, Lance, Johan, any of those complicit in the act. Should they be punished? Damn straight. Should dopers continue to be busted and tested? Damn straight. But, how do we exorcise this burden carried by cycling? If you can explain to me how we can prevent that then I won’t worry about the devil anymore. Because the devil, man, he’s fucking real.”