A casual check of the Innertubes this morning confirms that I chose correctly in deciding to skip Ol’ Whatsisface’s latest made-for-TV reinvention.
Eddy Merckx is “extremely disappointed.” Tour de France honcho Christian Prudhomme called it a “calculated public-relations exercise,” while WADA chief John Fahey dismissed the performance as delivering “nothing new.”
Greg LeMond said he didn’t see “the need for redemption, the remorse of someone who is truly sorry.” ESPN’s Bonnie Ford called his resort to “big-picture pop culture” a “delusional move, not to mention an utterly backward one, describing Ol’ Whatsisface as “a toppled despot, a statue pulled off his pedestal, [whose] legs are still moving reflexively in the rubble.”
And Betsy Andreu was pissed, saying Ol’ Whatsisface owes more to her and “to the sport that he destroyed.”
There’s more of that sort of thing to be had, if you’re game. I’m not. The whole thing is, as John Steinbeck wrote of other parties thrown by professional hostesses, “as spontaneous as peristalsis and as interesting as its end product.”
For The Cyclist Who Shall Not Be Named it’s just another step along a well-worn path. First Soaprah, then Betty Ford, then “Dancing With the Stars.” Or maybe a reality show like the one Pete Rose has ginned up for himself.
Whatever. Stage two is tonight, of course, but Ol’ Whatsisface is already way off the back. He’s proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that it’s not about the bike. It’s not about the sport. It’s all about him.