His ultimate legacy most likely is out of our hands. Fans who may not yet be alive will decide who he was. To us, today, Eddy Merckx is the greatest cyclist who ever lived, not a fraud who tested positive for a stimulant while leading the 1969 Giro d’Italia and had his 1973 Giro di Lombardia win stripped for the same. Joop Zoetemelk is the hardman who started and finished 16 Tours—a record—and won one. He’s not a reprobate who was caught doping at the 1979 Tour, received a paltry penalty of a 10-minute time addition, and maintained his second-place podium spot. Jacques Anquetil is the five-time Tour winner who in 1961 took the yellow jersey on Stage 1 and wore it all the way to Paris, not a boastful cheater who said, during a French television interview, “Leave me in peace—everybody takes dope.” And Fausto Coppi is il campionissimo, the champion of champions, not an admitted doper who said on Italian television that he only took drugs when necessary—”which is nearly always.”-Bill Strickland, Bicycling Magazine
One of the guys that rode, occasionally, with the support of my MTB team, Joe Parkin, wrote a book called “A Dog in a Hat” about his experiences coming up in the Euro-Pro ranks in Belgium during the LeMond/7-11 era. Doping was huge. Guys rode with hypodermic needles filled with “magic” for when the need arose. They would shoot up and throw the needles to the side of the road. He quit because of the doping after becoming one of 6 Americans to finish the Paris-Roubaix race (the toughest one day race on the planet) during his career (more have finished since then). I knew this day would come but it still saddens me beyond belief.
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