2012 Tour De France: Bradley Wiggins Right to Respond Angrily to Doping Claims
Bradley Wiggins is right to be annoyed about the constant doping questions.
Why? Because the sole rationale for questioning his integrity is the fact that he is having success in a sport with a chequered past.
The ridiculous logic is that others have needed to use performance enhancing drugs to succeed, so why should he be any different. That's all the evidence you apparently need.
What makes it worse for Wiggins is that his reactions inadvertently generate great back-page copy—and so the questions keep coming.
The media loves an angry outburst.
Wiggins message isn’t run through a public relations filter and it isn’t sugar coated to pander to the overstuffed egos of some journalists.
He says what’s on his mind, and does it in a way that leaves no room for misinterpretation.
Perversely, these "angry outbursts" are also seen as evidence that he must be doping.
He’s damned, no matter how he chooses to respond.
If he responds angrily, he’s defensive. If his response is light, he’s dismissive. If, as his team tried to do on the weekend, he refuses to answer questions he’s being evasive.
Bradley Wiggins hasn’t had a miracle recovery like Floyd Landis and he isn’t climbing out of sight in the mountains like Alberto Contador. He’s performing solidly with the support of a great team and has excelled at the one thing that he’s spent his whole life perfecting—the individual time-trial.
Should Wiggins get angry with journalists questioning his integrity?
As for his team, the reason Team Sky is performing like a well-oiled machine is because that's exactly what they are.
They have been largely unchanged throughout the year and have perfected their art with a focus on doing exactly what they are now doing. They have even sacrificed Mark Cavendish’s green jersey ambitions to secure a win for Wiggins.
Wiggins is not an easy man to like from his public persona. He is a man born to ride a bike and, even though it is a necessary evil in modern sport, he has little time for the media.
We have become too accustomed to the highly polished media performers, those who we suspect are using their sporting careers to prepare for a life in the media afterwards.
Wiggins doesn't play that game.
He has a right to challenge his accusers, particularly if they are hiding behind a veil of anonymity on social media sites. He has a right to be angry if his life’s work is denigrated—by anyone—on the sole evidence that he has been successful and gets cranky if accused of doping.
The man himself summed it up best of all in his press conference (as reported by ABC Australia),
"It's that pissing all over everything I've done, that's what really gets to me. Everybody on the Tour works hard on what we do. The position I'm in I've work hard for and I deserve every minute.
"I don't have to justify. I've been tested by the UCI God know how many times this year. Blood tests in the mornings, in this race, on the Dauphine.
"What can I do other than that? I don't know really. You tell me. I'm only human, I'm a kid from London happened to be good at riding a bike, I make mistakes, I swear, I'm not a role model."
Fair enough too.
If you've got hard evidence to accuse him, then bring it on. Otherwise, applaud what he's done or leave him alone.
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