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Deurle - Belgie - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - manager Patrick Lefevere of Etixx - Quick Step and Tom Boonen of Etixx - Quick Step pictured during the presentation of the new sponsor Lidl in Deurle, Belgium - photo JDM/PN/Cor Vos © 2015

Lee’s Lowdown: Having A Good Ol’ Moin!

Ever heard of ‘moining’? It’s a word from my part of the world that combines the verbs ‘to moither’ and ‘to oin’. Moithering means to babble on in a confused manner whereas moining is when someone is annoying in their speech, complaining or just plain being a bit soft. I bring this to your attention, expanding your vocabulary as I do, because there’s been a whole lot of moining going on these past couple of weeks.

First up, Jonathan ’19 Pints Positive’ Tiernan-Locke. Not content with getting banned for abnormalities in his biological passport and being steadfastly unwilling to take responsibility for his cheating and admit to it all, he then declared that he would be making a comeback to the sport as an individual rider, eschewing any offers that might have been (and, depressingly, probably were) for him to join a pro squad.

Waalse Pijl 2013 elite
Jonathan ’19 Pints Positive’ Tiernan-Locke

His plans however have hit a snag after British Cycling decided to give him a 2nd Category license instead if the Elite licence he thinks he is deserving of.

“I know these things can be discretionary, and I haven’t been allowed to ride for two years,” he said, whilst trying to wipe up a carton of spilt milk by his side. “But I held an elite licence every year I raced since 2003, so I think BC might give me at least a first cat one now.

“It would be a bit petty if they make me start as a second cat, and I would be concerned if they stick to it because that might make it more difficult for me to get into national races, especially early in the season,” he said.

And? You should be happy, JTL, that you aren’t stuck doing 4th cat races around an oil-stained car park at night with no lights on the course. There’s also the issue that, erm, you doped, and we don’t know how long you were at it, so to go on about holding an elite license when you might have been juicing some of those years is all a bit, well, moiny. If it was up to me and quite a few others, you’d never be racing again ever, mate, so, consider yourself lucky and take the slap on the wrist.

Etixx Quickstep presentation of the new sponsor Lidl
Tom Boonen and Patrick Lefevere in Lidl

Another chap getting his feathers in a twist this week is Patrick Lefevere, the man who laughably demanded a lifetime ban for the mechanized doper, Femke Van den Driessche, last week whilst failing to see the hypocrisy of wanting that for one form of cheating, but being quite ok with a 2-year ban for chemical doping.

This week he’s in a tizzy thanks to his team Etixx – Quick-Step being omitted from the starting line at the Tour of Qatar, for allegedly disrespecting the race, taking too long to get ready for podium appearances, being rude to a race staffer and for bad bahaviour during a party at the race hotel.

“I don’t know what’s upset the Sheikh!” he said, before going on to make an unnecessary and quite unfunny joke about sheikhing baking that no one but the stoners amongst the journos understood. Or maybe he didn’t, but he probably should have.

Tour de Qatar 2014 - stage 4
Tom Boonen being helped with his jersey in Qatar

Now I don’t pretend to know the facts but if only this kind of thing went on more often, a race organizer turfing out or ignoring a team that was disrespectful to their race. If the Tour de France had done that with regards to riders getting popped at their race and teams bringing ‘former’ dopers, we’d only have Garmin-Cannondale in attendance. . . Oh, wait.

2012 Tour of Qatar

When I raced the Tour of Qatar in 2012 we saw Boonen and his aide getting their own chauffeur driven car, outflanked by police outriders’ direct to the start line every day, whilst the rest of us schlepped it on the bus. Tom was the race’s Golden Boy, his reputation and winning performances bringing to the event a credibility it desperately needed early on.

As I said I don’t know what Lefevere’s lads have done, but if it is found that they were rude to a staffer at the race, this would not be at all unusual, as riders can often be, excuse my language here, but yes, proper dicks. There’s a sense of entitlement amongst cyclists that I am sure many of us have witnessed and it’s a bit of a stain on the sport, in my opinion. Lefevere might have a right to moin about being kicked out of the race but not because the organizers are wrong, just that they could be seen to be singling out just one team when many have been guilty at one time or another of being rude and tardy.

Tour San Luis 2016 2016 stage 3
‘So these young guys’

Peter Sagan also popped up this week, having a good old moin about the young guns in the peloton, which is a tad amusing as he’s only 25 himself. Personally I think Sagan’s outgoing personality and lack of fear about stating whatever is on his mind is a good thing, something I’ve written about here on other occasions, but his latest comments about young riders being dodgy on the bike seems a tad curmudgeonly.

“I want in the group maybe more respect as well OK,” he said. “The respect in the group is like nothing. If I speak with the old guys [about] when Cipollini was in the group or somebody like that, there was lots of respect in the group. Now it’s like, ‘if you don’t brake, I don’t brake’ and we crash. It’s very bad mentally in the group now.”

Tom, Fabian and the RTS boys

I remember when my old team, RTS Cycling, were being blamed in the early stages of the Tour of Qatar for a succession of crashes up at the front of the peloton, this despite us all hanging off the back all week just trying to keep up. Older guys on club runs around the world blame young guys for dodgy riding every weekend, so this is nothing new, but you’d imagine that guys on Pro Tour teams, however young, know how to brake.

There’s also been a lot written about the use of Tramadol being responsible for crashes in big races which might be more the case than a few guys going gung-ho. Sagan is though a great bike handler and on his way to becoming the patron of the peloton, so is perhaps better placed to make the call. Perhaps we need a ‘Peter Sagan School of Bike Handling’?

If you can’t do a wheelie up Alpe d’Huez, no contract for you. . .

Right, that’s it from the moiners this week. On a more positive note, we’re one week closer to the start of Classics season. Thankfully JTL won’t be there, Etixx will, and Sagan will be looking to win in his rainbow hoops. Bring it on.

TDFR 2014 - stage -10
No wheelie… no contract!

Lee Rodgers is a former professional road racer on the UCI Asia Tour circuit now racing MTB professionally around the world. His day job combines freelance journalism, coaching cyclists, event organizing and consulting work. You can keep up with his daily scribblings over at www.crankpunk.com.

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