Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The (Cowardly?) Lion of Flanders reported that Johan Museeuw resigned from his position as Quick Step-Innergetic's public relations officer after stating that he had not been "100 per cent honest" during the final year of his cycling career. Cyclingnews stated that this is "generally being interpreted as an admission to doping."

Museeuw stated:

I wanted to end my career in style, that's why I did things which were wrong. During the preparation of some important races I didn't always play the game 100 per cent honest.

He was suspended for 2 years in 2004 on the basis of telephone calls with an ex-veterinarian which disclosed a course of doping.

Museeuw was a true Classics hard man having won Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Amstel Gold.

Ronde van Vlaanderen 1993, 1995, 1998
Paris-Roubaix 1996, 2000, 2002
Züri-Metzgete 1991, 1995
Paris-Tours 1993
HEW Cyclassics 2002
Amstel Gold 1994
Brabantse Pijl 1996, 1998, 2000
Het Volk 2000, 2003
E3 Prijs Vlaanderen 1992, 1998
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 1994, 1997
World Cup 1995, 1996
Belgian Champion 1992, 1996.

He was the World Champion in 1996. Wikipedia reported that he was the only rider to win both the World Cup and the World Championship in the same year.

So, how does this "admission" affect his legacy? Once revered in his home country of Belgium, it has been reported that since the doping suspension, his popularity has dropped. He now faces a criminal trial in Belgium. Questions will always linger about whether he doped before his last year.

I desperately want to believe that when I watch a race, the riders are clean- mano a mano, but that seems to be increasingly difficult to do.

Nonetheless, I will remember Musseeuw like in the photo above-

in April,
in the rain
mud on his face and in his hair
hands and arms numb from the cobbles
and the Flag of Flanders flying above him.


Nico said...

Museeuw has always been a pilar of strength, and perserverance; bringing pride to the people of Flanders. I see Yoo-han as you do. Mud on his face and the lion in his heart. Lets not forget, that in the photo you posted he was also returning after a crash that almost ended his career.

FasterJim said...

Thanks for the comment and for reading. Maybe it is the "ending" of one's career that makes a rider seek out other methods to remain fast.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he's lying and many of those results are with the help of dope. He did seem cool back in the day.....not so cool now though.