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Australian politics

Sep 13, 2013


Roll back to first light on 8 September 2013. Tony Abbott, Australia’s Prime Minister elect, emerges barefoot into the early morning light. He is in his cycling gear and squats to put on his cleated cycling shoes then walks to his waiting road-bike in that curious clickety-clack heel-bound duck walk that cyclists have when off their bike. No-one looks cool walking in those shoes but not being cool has never bothered Abbott. Like half the country I was nursing a slight hangover and was watching the early news from the east coast. Abbott was in neck-to-knee lyrca emblazoned with sponsors for his annual charity fund-raiser Pollie Pedal, which his office runs in conjunction with Carers Australia. Pollie Pedal’s sponsors include Gerry Ryan’s Jayco caravans, a law firm, a book chain and three pharmaceutical companies – alphapharm, Roche and Pfizer. Running across Abbott’s chest in bright blue and down the outside of each thigh is the logo “AMGEN”. So who or what is AMGEN?

Continue reading “‘Cheap at twice the price’. The Prime Minister and Big Pharma”

Australian politics

Jan 17, 2013


Ten (Australian) questions for Cancer Jesus

If Cancer Jesus ever returns to Adelaide he can expect to be dragged from his private jet at the airport, hitched to the back of a truck with a rope, hauled into the city down Anzac Parade and his lifeless body hung for display from a light standard in Victoria Square while the crowds that once sang his praises to the sky bay for his blood. He doesn't deserve any better.

Unlike the several hundred thousand Australians that will be glued to their small screens on Friday and Saturday nights this week watching a marshmallow “interview” the biggest fraud in sporting history I’ll have something better to do.

Like eating my own liver. Or standing outside a bar in Darwin’s Mitchell Street picking fights.

I’ll do just about anything to avoid the biggest media stunt in (recent) sporting or political history.

Continue reading “Ten (Australian) questions for Cancer Jesus”

Australian politics

Jun 18, 2012


Lance Armstrong and the conspiracy of dunces*

These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play. I have never doped.

Lance Armstrong at the Tour Down Under, 2009.

Last week The Wall Street Journal published a 15 page leaked letter from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)  addressed to Lance Armstrong and five others closely associated with his cycling career.

That letter and events that flow from it will change the course of professional road cycling forever. Armstrong’s reputation and deified place in sporting history – a position that for many is already suspect – now stands to be torn to shreds.

Roll back your wheels to the early 1990s.

Continue reading “Lance Armstrong and the conspiracy of dunces*”

Australian politics

May 23, 2011


Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis

Over the past few years I’ve written no end of pieces here and at Crikey on the relationship between Mike Rann’s South Australian Government and the American cyclist (now retired) Lance Armstrong. Back in 2009 I wrote:

Lance Armstrong went to Adelaide for a fortnight in January. While there he spoke to a few cancer charities, visited hospitals, charity fund-raisers and cancer victims, and schmoozed with Kevin Rudd, a fawning South Australian Premier Mike Rann, assorted SA Ministers and half the population of Adelaide. Oh, and between schmoozes he rode around on his bike for seven days during the Tour Down Under. For his troubles he trousered a wedge understood to be up to $AU3 million in cash.

Continue reading “Dear Mike, we need to talk about Lance…”


Jan 19, 2011


Armstrong to quit TdU & leave legacy as “saddest deception in sports history”?

I won’t insult my readers by trawling through the sycophantic puffery that is passed off as serious commentary on Lance Armstrong in the Australia media. You can pick up plenty of that for yourself in the tabloids and on the TV. And the broadsheet coverage isn’t much better. Most of that reporting – and the guff spouted by politicians - treats Armstrong as if he was some God come to earth on two wheels to lead us into some glorious future after the “war” on cancer has been won.

Lance Armstrong. Tour Down Under 2009
Lance Armstrong. Tour Down Under 2009

Lance Armstrong came in 81st in yesterday’s first stage of the Tour Down Under through the rolling flats of South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

And with a dicky knee (there was also an interview I heard earlier in the week where Armstrong talked about this but I’ve been unable to find it online) and a very relaxed approach to this year’s Tour it seems that neither Armstrong nor anyone else that matters expects him to finish better than the middle of the field when the Tour ends on the weekend. I can’t tell you how well he did today because as I’m writing the highly efficient (?) people at TdU central haven’t updated the Results page at their website. (UPDATE: The results page has been updated and says that Armstrong improved his lot from Stage 1 and finished in 42nd place on Stage 2.)

That is if he finishes this year’s Tour at all.

Over the past few days there has been widespread – though unsubstantiated – speculation that Armstrong would withdraw from the Tour early. My bet was that he would withdraw after the third stage but a tweet just a few minutes before I posted this by @OneHD reports that “Rumours circulating that Lance Armstrong is pulling out of the Tour Down Under” remains to be confirmed.

Continue reading “Armstrong to quit TdU & leave legacy as “saddest deception in sports history”?”