Its been a pretty exciting start to 2023 from a pro cycling perspective.
The World Cyclo Cross Championships were, as previously posted, some of the best races I have seen. And I started watching the sport during the 1987 Tour de France.
We had the Australian races, which for once I had more than a passing interest in tuning in for, before this block of Spanish racing to get us properly up and running.
(We also had Etoile de Besseges in France and the Tour of the Algarve starts this week in Portugal)
It’s been a fabulous period to get in some TV watching. I have seen beaches, sunshine (snow in Mallorca ironically!) and cycling… lots of cycling.
But despite my usual high level of enthusiasm I have had my eye drawn to an increasing number of posts on Twitter reporting that there is building evidence the sport has returned to its dark, dope fuelled days.
The incredible start to the season by both Intermarche and EF Pro Cycling has raised eyebrows on Elon’s social media platform.
There are comments about Miguel Angel Lopez, Nairo Quintana and how their world tour careers have ended.
Yesterday there was a lot of content from people, some of whom have been represented publicly as credible experts in the past, saying that the gravel based win of Tadej Pogacar has made mugs of any of us still watching thinking we were seeing a sport.
Does this mean that possible pandemic related cuts to doping tests and research mean that the cheats are further ahead of the authorities than they were 5 years ago?
Has my algorithm on the app started to push more cynical cycling posts my way?
I don’t know the answer to either of those questions, but it is making me consume pro cycling in a more aware if not downright disbelieving way again.