Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tornado Tom ... Indeed II

Look, we at BKW love this guy. Love him. He's the hardest of hard men. But a positive test for cocaine can derail his hopes for going back to the Tour de France for a second year in a row. We want him racing for the green jersey, so while it would be nice if he weren't embarrassing the sport for recreational drug use, what we really need is him clean enough to go to the Tour. The competition for the greeen jersey won't be as interesting without him going head-to-head with Cavendish.

I've said my piece already. Ibid.

Image courtesy John Pierce, Photosport International.


Anonymous said...

He's harmed nobody, but all witches and warlocks must be burned at the stake!

Touriste-Routier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Touriste-Routier said...

Unfortunately, once again he has harmed cycling.

While true fans will realize this was an out of competition test, the general public will only see the headline that another top cyclist has tested positive for drugs.

I hope he can address & resolve whatever personal demons are haunting him; I'd hate to see him in the same situation as Tyler Hamilton

Da Robot said...

I don't think he's hurt the sport, but he's definitely hurting himself.

I've seen this movie before, but last time it was called Marco Pantani.

If Boonen goes on doing coke despite the problem he's already had, it suggests to me that he maybe ought to take a year off to get himself straightened out. The pressure to race and do press,etc. will only make the problem worse.

Again, see Pantani.

Brian Weiss said...

Despite what may be an initial reaction of frustration and betrayal, we must remember that Boonen did nothing to harm cycling qua cycling. He is a professional cyclist who used recreational drugs for recreational purposes. This will likely pose a number of problems for him personally, but the only direct loss for cycling is that we may never see his full potential realized in competition. This is radically different from a strategic doping effort during competition. A doper takes down his team as well as the legitimacy of the race. Even a second cocaine bust does not tarnish Boonen's contribution to the richness and tradition of racing. Paris-Roubaix remains absolutely unscathed. These two distinct entities should remain that way.

Let the legal system address the rules he broke with a suitable punishment. The cycling community as a whole, from governing bodies to team managers and physicians to fans and journalists, should work to help address his substance abuse issues. We should make available to him the resources necessary to overcome this problem in the future, instead of waiting for it to collapse on top of him again and then distancing ourselves from him at a time when he most needs help. It is the least we can do for someone who has given us all so much of himself.

WheelDancer said...

Crying shame it is. While I'm a nearly fanatical rider, I'm only a casual fan of bike racing knowing only a dozen or two names off the top of my head and to me it really does affect the sport. Folks who know me are more than willing to point out what a bunch of dopers cyclists are sometimes even asking me what sort of doping I might be doing.

Any headline that includes the words drugs and cycling are bad for the sport since the vast majority of folks won't even read the article. They just put another hash mark in the doping cyclist column and move on. Right or wrong cycling is in the doping spotlight and while I think things are headed in the right direction, even an out of competition infraction causes a large blemish on the face of the sport.

On the bike Tom's name is in the forefront of my limited collection of names off the bike, just another putz that doesn't have what it takes to be a champion.

JBP said...

Is the following a wacky conspiracy theory? I'm not sure....

Has it ever dawned on anyone that Terrible Tom probably doesn't want to bother with the Green Jersey? Think about it: tremendous pressure associated with the Spring Classics means Tom is completely fatigued by the end of April and just wants to party with vast quantities of hookers and blow until it is time to get Le Forme back together for Worlds. That's the only logical explanation I can cook up. He seems to have gotten away with it last season, so why not now?

If you think about it, Cipollini kind of did the same thing: Milano-San Remo, the Giro, followed by the initial TdF flat stages, get some publicity for the sponsor, and then head for Monaco to chillax before the Tour roads tilt upwards. This probably increased the longevity of his career, and did nothing to diminish his fame. Boonen might be up to the same thing, albeit in a more roundabout way - or Boonen is incredibly stupid, OR he indeed has a coke problem a la Pantani. That would be tragic.

Cols Upsidedown said...

Tom please stop. I understand how tempting it surely must be for a man of your age and your well-earned status. But remember that like it or not, you live as a public figure personifying the sport of cycling.

We love you Tomike so please wait 'til your career is over to enjoy the fruits of your labor that are forbidden to you while you're a professional cyclist.

As to the other comments, I disagree that "he's harmed nobody." While that may be true for someone not a public figure who's using cocaine, Tom is expected to set an example as a professional, as would a professional in other endeavors. Of course I support and love Tom for the hard-fighting Vlaamse-man he personifies; that won't change. Wow that ride back from the bike change in Paris-Roubaix really was a tordado.

But while I accept Tom's drug use that's ok with me personally and privately, as a public figure Tom is set at a higher standard for the examples he provides to the public. What about young cyclists that might look up to him?

I happen to be reading The Death of Marco Pantani presently. While Tom doesn't display the personality traits of Marco, the situation is analogous enough to have sent a quiver into my cranium when I learned of Tom's positive test. I'll wait to pass judgment as to whether Tom's actually guilty, but I prefer that if he's taking cocaine or any other in-competition or out-of-comp illegal substance, that he stops at once.

LSIII said...

Good Bye Tornado Tool, may I hope to hear about you again. Odds on his next career. Club promoter, porn star, pizza delivery guy.

Anonymous said...


I have just been reminded of the insidious "speedball" concoction, which contains cocaine and has a history of abuse as a PED in both cycle and horse racing.

It is possible that Tommekke has more than a party problem but a PED problem. Would that the controls could distinguish and only return positive for any PED use of recreational drugs.

In any event, maybe Tom can take a few years for R&R and comeback stronger and cleaner than ever.

Richmond Roadie said...

Boonen has some "issues" no doubt about it. Why would a man who has been so successful in such an insanely hard sport put that garbage into his body? It's so self destructive! On top of that it does reflect poorly on pro cycling, and Quick Step may not appreciate this happening yet again. It's not PRO to do Blow!

RMM said...

Last time I checked, I had "personal time" where what I was doing did not reflect on my job performance.
What Tom does on Tom's time is his own business, Puritan drug laws in place or not.
That said, it is really too bad that he keep jeopardizing his career in this way. My interest in Euro road cycling will suffer if Tom gets the boot.

Padraig said...

Everyone, thank you for your comments and diverse perspectives on the situation.

Onegun said...

Puhleeeze. Obviously, Tom has a problem. An illness, actually. It's called addiction. He's not a weak man who needs to get strong or a bad man who needs to get good, but a sick man who needs to get well.

But according to some of you, "personal responsibility" now extends to having or contracting a disease, in spite of mounting evidence that a predisposition to alcoholism and drug addiction is genetically passed.

Remember that when your mother comes down with cancer, and be sure to tell her that "once again she has harmed the family, as the general public will only see that another Smith or Jones has tested positive for cancer", or that she's "just another putz that doesn't have what it takes to be a champion", or that in her next life she'll probably be a "club promoter, porn star, or pizza delivery girl".

Anonymous said...

Latest news/rumor is that Tommekke tested positive for coke and ecstasy before, but it was not reported because neither were considered PEDS.

Cycling needs to decide whether coke is a PED or not and test for it (or not) accordingly.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

I call bullshit on all the commenters who are saying it's OK because it's not "performance enhancing." If he lacks the judgment to avoid the recreational stuff, how the hell is he going to find the integrity to avoid the performance enhancers? He just hasn't been caught for that. Yet.

Let's cut the Boonen worship "forgive his foibles" crap. He's a doper and has no place in the sport.

LSIII said...

Are you really comparing a mother getting cancer to Boonens choice to rip it up parting? Cmon on I wont even start to justify more of a response to your ignorance!

jza said...

I am the first one to support a Roubaix/Flanders/World Champion's right to party as hard as he damn well wants to, with one caveat. That he is still able to win big races year in and year out. AKA, do the job he's being paid to do.

In his job, if he tests positive for amphetamines, he can't do the job.

He also apparently lives in a country where testing positive for a drug is a crime. Committing a crime will also keep him from doing the job.

Maybe he is a full-fledged addict, albeit a VERY highly functional one. But I kind of doubt it.

More likely he's just a young, stubborn, egotistical millionaire who has f'd up before and got by with a slap on the wrist, but now has gotten in way deeper than he ever imagined.

C'est la vie.

Mr. C said...

I think there is a bigger issue here than wanting to see a green jersey on his back or what exactly he will be doing this July. He is using and illegal substance, regarless if it is a performance enhancer or not. If my employer found out I was snorting lines, off I go. I see no reason for it not to be the dame for Tom or any other rider.

I do think the coke, booze and ecstacy points to a much much bigger problem, as he and any other professional know its only a matter of time before the next test. I hope Boonen stops this before it ends his career without question, for his own sake

mathias_d said...

We, as a world of sports fans have really jumped the shark.

Apparently it is verboten for athletes to go out after winning a race and powdering their nose one night. Perhaps we should turn them all into eunuchs so that they always remain pure in our eyes.

Please. I am so sick of this puritanical hypocritical b.s.

These are men who should be allowed to live like men when they are not in competition without being called to court for a little recreational drug use (that obviously wasn't used for performance enhancing). End of frickin' story.

All of this is watering down the whole experience for me; I cannot respect those who want to cast stones for something just because they abstain.

Anonymous said...

JZA: I agree with you as far as you go. Disease of no, as long as Tom functions and doesn't run afoul of law enforcement . . . .

But you beg the crucial question: what have the cycling PED controls got to do with enforcing Belgium's legal code? Have the Belgian Cycling Federation or UCI been deputized?

Broseph: You may be correct, especial re: Tom on a subconscious level.