What are the updates on the suspended riders? I've got answers and a few guesses.
When the conversation about doping comes up people ask me what I think the next move will be for the suspended riders or what Lance Armstrong’s next move is. I can only speculate from what knowledge I have, talking to riders themselves or fellow journalists.
George Hincapie and Michael Barry retired when their suspensions were made public.
Locally Hincapie’s clothing company is title sponsoring a U-23 squad. George and his older brother Rich have a knack for finding talent and past Hincapie-sponsored riders have gone onto professional cycling careers. It’s good to see that in 2013 the Hincapie company is going to continue its title sponsorship of a team.
The brothers Hincapie have also branched out into hotel ownership. They bought a vineyard in the Greenville, South Carolina area and are in the process of converting it into a hotel for a sport-minded clientele. I suspect guests at the still unnamed hotel will have the opportunity to ride with George. If anyone knows the good loops in the area, George does.
In the Toronto Life, Michael Barry states that he is under contract for another book. I hope the author of the now ironically titled, “Inside the Postal Bus” is really going to write what happened on the bus when the door swung shut and the curtains were drawn. But I doubt it.
From reading his Q&A interview Barry is still embracing the omertà and will only say that the evidence against Armstrong is “pretty damning.”
I’d like to steal a quote I saw from the @NyVelocity Twitter account, “I’ll say one thing: Dede Demet Barry ain’t no Betsy Andreu.” Turns out the Athens silver medalist knew that her husband Michael was using the family fridge not only to store milk, but EPO as well. While Betsy was reading her husband Frankie the riot act about doping, Dede steadfastly defended Michael against doping charges. Did I mention that Dede won silver in the time trial at the Athens Olympics at the same time her husband was storing and using EPO?
The Garmin-Sharp riders that were suspended and are not retired are all taking a different approach to their time on the bench. I saw Garmin-Sharp’s time trial specialist David Zabriskie at the George Hincapie Gran Fondo in October. We exchanged a handshake, asked how each other was doing and that was the extent of our interaction. I did notice that Zabriskie was wearing a non-team issue kit with “Chain Gang” printed on the jersey during the ride.
For those who may not have a deep historic knowledge of the Tour de France the term “convicts of the road” was coined by the French journalist Albert Londres in 1924. Londres wasn’t a sports journalist and wrote about the French penal colonies, but got the Tour assignment. Much like the convicts he had written about, he discovered that the Tour de France riders weren’t the most honest types. In the 1920s, professional cycling was awash in doping and cheating – just not the EPO type – hence the phrase “convicts of the road.”