This shot of the wife of Wim van Est listening hopefully to the radio coverage of the her husband in the 1960 Tour, instantly takes you back to a time when more was left unsaid than was broadcast. In those days it was easy to keep the inner workings of the teams cloaked in secrecy, and their stars put on a pedestal. I just finished reading the Eddy Merckx biography “The Cannibal” by Daniel Friebe , which does an excellent job of looking into the mind of the legend, and also the suspicions of how dope ridden the peleton was back then. Granted, nowhere near as sophisticated as Doprahgate, but in their own way sophisticated enough, that today they are still thought of mostly as just that, suspicions. It was that secrecy and the riders and managers that perpetuated it, that maintained an acceptable face to the public and more importantly the sponsors, giving them the assurances they needed before their name was stuck on the back of a jersey. And here we are today, post Doprahgate, post the managed message, post naivety, post a few fallen heroes and post quite a few sponsors. But some still remain and I am thankful for them. Sponsors like Sky and Garmin that are giving us some of the best racing we have ever seen. We enter a new season with most of our dirty laundry hanging out to dry ( I can only hope ) and a wave of new riders taking victories from Argentina to Australia. Lets hope for a good one, and no more media frenzy around those that have left the sport close to implosion. In this era of media manipulation – lets face it choosing Oprah was a cop-out, she is not really know for her journalistic rigor – lets hope some of that same media can help get the sport back on its feet by reporting some of the good out there.
Photo: Collectie SPAARNESTAD PHOTO/W.L. Stuifbergen