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Clash of Cultures??

jerry3571jerry3571 Posts: 1,532
edited November 2007 in Pro race
I read in this magazine a few months ago about the Italian word for "pardon". It was something like "perdonissmo". I think that, with the drugs issue in cycling, that there is a big culture clash between the old Catholic countries in Cycling (Italy, Spain and France) with the new cycling Anglo Cultures (USA, GB, Australia and Germany).
My point is that, as the Procycling article reads, the Catholic Church has a habit of confessing sins and letting the bad guys off with a slap on the wrist. The Protestant Church has an ethos of hard work and the banishment of evil practice at all costs. We, in the UK, see bad guys and cheaters as the scum of the earth ( The Daily Mail attitude).
In the past, the countries of Spain, France and Italy dominated Cycling and so the attitude of foregiveness won through. Now, with the new countries coming to the fore, we have suddenly got censored Pound and the English speaking influence taking a stand. The trouble is that the old Catholic Cultural Attitude that kept Cycling for about 100 years is battling with the new. Drugs were seen as an unfortunate aid to riding a bike but now it's something near an absolute evil. This, I think, is what is happening; Cycling used to be a sport for the Mediterranean and the low countries; relaxed and unregulated. The sport is now changing into a tightly run outfit where the high standards, hard work and fairness is dominant.
Not sure about the countries of Holland and Belgium are in all this; I think they have been a halfway house between the two.
Am I talking complete tosh and been listening to Melvin Bragg to much?? :?
Not sure...
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”- Albert Einstein

"You can't ride the Tour de France on mineral water."
-Jacques Anquetil
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  • scapaslowscapaslow Posts: 305
    I always thought cycling was a religion in itself :)
    There may be an element of truth to what you say as far as tolerance to doping goes. For instance was it not the Germans with their Lutheran past who kicked up the biggest fuss at the last TdF and pulled the plug on TV coverage after a German rider was caught doping?

    I think though that Europeans in general, ignoring their religious pasts (I exclude the UK from Europe here) have more general belief in the power of rehabilitation and a second chance.

    Certainly David Millar has had a hard time from the British press and fellow riders over his 'Road to Damascus' moment.
    I wonder who will win in the punishment stakes. Will it be life bans for all dopers or a short ban after a quick trip to the confessional box to avoid a life in purgatory?
    Perhaps all riders could be offered a fresh start and be invited to the confessional to tell their stories of how they fell into doping. Maybe with that off the proverbial chest of cycling a brave new world would follow.... Sorry, i was dreaming.
  • mm1mm1 Posts: 1,063
    I think McQuaid tried a similar argument - though (for obvious reasons) he spoke in terms of a north / south european divide rather than relating it to catholic v protestant "ethics". Of course we all know that WASPs don't lie, cheat or steal...just ask black americans and most of the third world!
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    jerry3571 wrote:
    I read in this magazine a few months ago about the Italian word for "pardon". It was something like "perdonissmo". I think that, with the drugs issue in cycling, that there is a big culture clash between the old Catholic countries in Cycling (Italy, Spain and France) with the new cycling Anglo Cultures (USA, GB, Australia and Germany).
    My point is that, as the Procycling article reads, the Catholic Church has a habit of confessing sins and letting the bad guys off with a slap on the wrist. The Protestant Church has an ethos of hard work and the banishment of evil practice at all costs. We, in the UK, see bad guys and cheaters as the scum of the earth ( The Daily Mail attitude).
    In the past, the countries of Spain, France and Italy dominated Cycling and so the attitude of foregiveness won through. Now, with the new countries coming to the fore, we have suddenly got censored Pound and the English speaking influence taking a stand. The trouble is that the old Catholic Cultural Attitude that kept Cycling for about 100 years is battling with the new. Drugs were seen as an unfortunate aid to riding a bike but now it's something near an absolute evil. This, I think, is what is happening; Cycling used to be a sport for the Mediterranean and the low countries; relaxed and unregulated. The sport is now changing into a tightly run outfit where the high standards, hard work and fairness is dominant.
    Not sure about the countries of Holland and Belgium are in all this; I think they have been a halfway house between the two.
    Am I talking complete tosh and been listening to Melvin Bragg to much?? :?
    Not sure...
    Yes!!
    Why is this in training thread?
  • Jeff JonesJeff Jones Posts: 1,865 Editor
    Moved to 'race' ;-)
    Jeff Jones

    Product manager, Sports
  • vermootenvermooten Posts: 2,697
    The OP is in danger of pointing the finger at filthy cheating foreigners - especially the sweaty ones who have no Protestant morals or work ethic. I know the poster didn't mean that of course.

    The argument doesn't work if you consider that people on this forum tend to be more perdonissmo towards David Millar who, let's face, is far more of a cheat than, say, Basso ever was.
    You just have to ride like you never have to breathe again.

    Manchester Wheelers
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,847
    vermooten wrote:
    The argument doesn't work if you consider that people on this forum tend to be more perdonissmo towards David Millar who, let's face, is far more of a cheat than, say, Basso ever was.
    How do you arrive at that conclusion? Sure Millar cheated by taking EPO but do you really believe that Basso never cheated? Did you see any of last year's Giro? :shock:
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,784
    Surely it would be better to not make an emotional investment in people you don't know? Most of us will feel let down by someone we're close to in our lives at least once, if not a few times.
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,882
    How do the Mennonites fit in to all this?
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • vermootenvermooten Posts: 2,697
    andyp wrote:
    vermooten wrote:
    The argument doesn't work if you consider that people on this forum tend to be more perdonissmo towards David Millar who, let's face, is far more of a cheat than, say, Basso ever was.
    How do you arrive at that conclusion? Sure Millar cheated by taking EPO but do you really believe that Basso never cheated? Did you see any of last year's Giro? :shock:

    Well Basso's perormance was very impressive, suspiciously so, but AFAIK he wasn't caught doping, even while in pink.You take my original point, which is cool.
    You just have to ride like you never have to breathe again.

    Manchester Wheelers
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,847
    vermooten wrote:
    Well Basso's perormance was very impressive, suspiciously so, but AFAIK he wasn't caught doping, even while in pink.You take my original point, which is cool.
    Your logic is flawed though. David Millar never tested positive. He was caught due to a judicial investigation into doping within the Cofidis team. Basso has never tested positive either but his blood was found in the clinic of the leading doping doctor in cycling.

    The difference is that Millar, when confronted with the evidence confessed, whereas Basso has continued to claim he never doped but was only preparing to dope. Does anyone seriously believe this sh!t? I know I don't.
  • vermootenvermooten Posts: 2,697
    No-one believes Basso's story. Back to the thread.

    Italians eg CONI are as forgiving of Italian riders who are suspected or have doped as Brits eg andyp are forgiving of Brits who doped. The point is underlined in Michael Hutchinson's book where he recounts how he wrote in a magazine that Millar had cheated - the following Sunday at a race no-one would talk to him (Hutchinson), turns out the general view was he (Millar) was a victim of circumstance.

    Is this an example of the perdonissmo referred to in the OP? I guess I'm trying to say that countries that are traditionally Catholic don't have a monopoly on wanting to let the baddies go free.

    Andy
    You just have to ride like you never have to breathe again.

    Manchester Wheelers
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,847
    It's a fair point Andy. I think I'm only forgiving of Millar because he confessed to what he did. If Basso did the same I think I'd be forgiving of him though. Not that it matters a jot to them what I think of course.

    I do think a lot of the riders are a victim of circumstance though, i.e. they were probably put into a position where in order to keep their job, which is probably what they dreamed of doing for many years, they had to resort to dope. It's easy, from the comfort of desk, to sit and moralise about these things but I know for sure that if I was in the same situation I'd be tempted to conform.
  • vermootenvermooten Posts: 2,697
    Agreed!
    You just have to ride like you never have to breathe again.

    Manchester Wheelers
  • jerry3571jerry3571 Posts: 1,532
    Ok Ok I started this thread in the training bit; :oops:
    I'm not sure that individual riders are important in this, Jan Ullrich was German, David Miller- UK, Frenchman Charly Mottet was clean as a whistle according to Paul Kimmage's book. So we could all pick out cases that don't fit. I think the tipping point in all this was the fatalities due to EPO. I think the gloves came off after then.

    Another small point is who is stirring this all up; is it Government, the IOC, Pat McQuaid, WADA or the UCI scewing with ASO at the Tour this year. I couldn't think of worse time for the "Chickens (Sorry Michel Ras', Chickens!! :lol:) to come home to roost than at the Tour de France this year. Did the UCI do this on purpous??

    Thanks for the comments!!
    -Jerry
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”- Albert Einstein

    "You can't ride the Tour de France on mineral water."
    -Jacques Anquetil
  • jjones wrote:
    Moved to 'race' ;-)

    How about we move it to soap box where this type of ***** usually resides?

    Cheers, Andy
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    That really made I laugh out loud did that.
  • timoid.timoid. Posts: 3,133
    Big bad dopers of the past few years:

    Armstrong: Protestant
    Basso: Catholic
    Landis: Shiftless Mennonite
    Heras: Catholic
    Hamilton: Protestant
    Vinokourov: Orthodox
    Mancebo: Catholic
    Ullrich: Protestant or possibly atheist
    Zabel: Protestant
    Riis: Protestant
    Pantani: Catholic
    Virenque: Catholic
    Di Luca: Catholic
    Musseuw: Protestant
    Riis: Protestant

    The rest in comparison are non-entites with exception of Zabel who never inhaled.

    Most evilist DS according to this forum:
    Bruyneel: Protestant
    Lefevere: Catholic
    Biver: Protestant
    Ferreti: Catholic
    Saiz: Catholic
    Godefroot: Protestant


    I see no religous or national pattern here (okay so there are a few Americans). The OP is nonsense.
    It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    Timoid
    Would I be correct in assuming that you are assigning religion based on nationality or have you delved into this at the local level? At the national level, Bruyneel, Godefroot (Belgium) and Biver (Luxembourg) are probably Catholic, which would mean that all the evil DS are Catholic!
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,784
    LangerDan wrote:
    Timoid
    Would I be correct in assuming that you are assigning religion based on nationality or have you delved into this at the local level? At the national level, Bruyneel, Godefroot (Belgium) and Biver (Luxembourg) are probably Catholic, which would mean that all the evil DS are Catholic!

    My mum could've told you that! :P
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • This thread is so gonna get locked soon if it carries on down the route of Catholics* are evil!

    *I was going to use a euphemism but thought better of it! Why not insert your own?

    Rule No.10 // It never gets easier, you just go faster
  • jerry3571 wrote:
    as the Procycling article reads, the Catholic Church has a habit of confessing sins and letting the bad guys off with a slap on the wrist. The Protestant Church has an ethos of hard work and the banishment of evil practice at all costs. We, in the UK, see bad guys and cheaters as the scum of the earth ( The Daily Mail attitude).
    In the past, the countries of Spain, France and Italy dominated Cycling and so the attitude of foregiveness won through. Now, with the new countries coming to the fore, we have suddenly got censored Pound and the English speaking influence taking a stand...

    Am I talking complete tosh and been listening to Melvin Bragg to much?? :?
    Complete tosh, I would say.

    For one the use of stimulants in cycling was never regarded as 'cheating', so there was no 'sin' to forgive. Rather, their use was seen as being entirely reasonable and understandable. After all, the argument went, if the labourer in the fields needed coffee and pastis to help him do his work who could begrudge the 'convicts of the road' something a little stronger to help them do their daily 'work' as well? True the death of Simpson challenged this attitude, but the issue was the potential danger of overdoing things, not any moral aspect.

    That said there is something essentially 'Anglo-Saxon' about the concept of 'cheating' itself but the issue of what constitutes 'cheating' and what does not almost always ends up mired in self-contradiction and hypocrisy. To me the issue of doping is more important because it robs races of their meaningfulness, creating mere 'sports entertainment'.

    As to the 'moral' aspect of all this. I would say that, ironically enough, it is 'Anglo-Saxon values' which have corrupted the 'sport' For example the American-style 'win at all costs' ethos which portrays sport as being about winning and nothing more. Given the fact that cycle sport has become little more than a means to advertise brands, one might regard doping programs as almost being a part of the corporate plan, maximising the return of the investor's Dollar. True winning has always been important to some degree, but cycle sport was always about much more than this, what was crucial was the way the struggle to win offered a challenge and allowed human beings to rise above themselves. The 'human' qualities of races such as the Tour were always central, and a rider could be rewarded not just for winning but also for their 'affability', 'humour' or elegance', or even for coming last. (I don't think there even is an official 'lantern rouge' prize in the Tour any more). Also, whilst advertising has long been a part of the Tour, it's role and especially the use of 'extra sportif' sponsors always caused concern that 'commercial' interests would come to over-ride the sporting and human qualities of the Tour.

    A good illustration of the real cultural differences I am referring to is the way France's greatest ever cycling hero was Raymond Poulidor, a man of the soil and the people who never won the Tour or even wore the Yellow jersey. In comparison Anqueteil won the Tour five times and was received with indifference. In comparison, the dominant 'Anglo-Saxon' culture regards Armstrong as being the ultimate 'hero', largely because he was a 'winner' and a 'killing machine', a veritable icon of neo-liberal competitive individualism and as such a pin-up of corporate America. (Subaru cars and all the rest). His failings as a human being are regarded as being immaterial, whereas with a rider such as Pouildor, his qualities as a human being were central.
  • aurelio wrote:
    whilst advertising has long been a part of the Tour, it's role and especially the use of 'extra sportif' sponsors always caused concern that 'commercial' interests would come to over-ride the sporting and human qualities of the Tour.
    For example:

    Pellos_cartoon6a.jpg

    Tour of the Future 1956.


    the introduction of “ Extra-Sportives ” (non-cycling related sponsors) was viewed as posing a threat to the Tour de France. Pellos captured the “Tour of the Future”. [ From "Cyclisme 1956", February 27, 1956]

    http://www.cyclingrevealed.com/photoalb ... picToC.htm
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    Do you write the sports column for The Socialist,by any chance?
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • timoid.timoid. Posts: 3,133
    LangerDan wrote:
    Timoid
    Would I be correct in assuming that you are assigning religion based on nationality or have you delved into this at the local level? At the national level, Bruyneel, Godefroot (Belgium) and Biver (Luxembourg) are probably Catholic, which would mean that all the evil DS are Catholic!

    I thought Biver was Swiss, my mistake.

    Godefroot and Bruyneel are Flemish and so probably protestant.

    Lefevre is probably Godless.
    It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    Timoid. wrote:


    Godefroot and Bruyneel are Flemish and so probably protestant.

    Lefevre is probably Godless.

    The majority religion in Flanders is RC. However the religion of Ned Flanders is protestantism, so its easy to see where you'd get confused.

    Lefevre probably worships himself.
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • LangerDan wrote:
    Do you write the sports column for The Socialist,by any chance?
    Historically, the links between socialism and cycling are many and profound. (The National Clarion Anyone?).

    Did you know that the classic 'Miroir du Cyclisme' was a publication of the French Communist party? And Raymond Poulidor was not adverse to giving a Communist party salute when the Tour encountered protesting workers. :wink:


    "Socialism can arrive only by bicycle."
    Chilean Politician José Antonio Viera Gallo. From Ivan Illich’s Energy and Equity (1974)
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    aurelio wrote:
    And Raymond Poulidor was not adverse to giving a Communist party salute when the Tour encountered protesting workers. :wink:
    Bernard Hinault was not adverse to throwing a few punches when the Tour encountered protesting workers
    aurelio wrote:


    "Socialism can arrive only by bicycle."
    Chilean Politician José Antonio Viera Gallo. From Ivan Illich’s Energy and Equity (1974)

    Your are Matt Rendell and I claim my £5!
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • timoid.timoid. Posts: 3,133
    LangerDan wrote:
    Timoid. wrote:


    Godefroot and Bruyneel are Flemish and so probably protestant.

    Lefevre is probably Godless.

    The majority religion in Flanders is RC. However the religion of Ned Flanders is protestantism, so its easy to see where you'd get confused.

    Lefevre probably worships himself.

    The village comedian speaks. I look forward to more of your rapier wit in other threads.
    It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    Timoid. wrote:
    LangerDan wrote:
    Timoid. wrote:


    Godefroot and Bruyneel are Flemish and so probably protestant.

    Lefevre is probably Godless.

    The majority religion in Flanders is RC. However the religion of Ned Flanders is protestantism, so its easy to see where you'd get confused.

    Lefevre probably worships himself.

    The village comedian speaks. I look forward to more of your rapier wit in other threads.
    Ye feckers from the West were always very sensitive!
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • NoodleyNoodley Posts: 1,725
    Timoid. wrote:
    I see no religous or national pattern here (okay so there are a few Americans). The OP is nonsense.

    There are no Jedi Knights. Kinda clears them.

    Also all the named are Christian - so we should promote more Buddhists, Muslims, and Sikhs to participate in the pro tour :wink:
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