KIMMAGE UNIMPRESSED BY ‘THE SECRET PRO’

Paul Kimmage (center) confronts Lance Armstrong at the 2009 Tour of California. (Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Paul Kimmage (center) confronts Lance Armstrong at the 2009 Tour of California. (Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

One of the internet’s better cycling blogs, Cycling Tips, has recently begun a new series of blog posts called ‘The Secret Pro’.

Wade Wallace, the editor of Cycling Tips, describes the concept as a monthly column by a high profile World Tour pro rider whose identity is kept anonymous to allow the pro to freely give ‘the inside scoop of what the pros are talking about. [To discuss the] things that matter to them, but cannot say publicly. [And to say] the things that they cannot tell journalists for fear of repercussion.’

The Secret Pro’s first post generated plenty of interest around the cycling community, particularly his claims about doping (‘it just does not happen on my team’) and some cycling journalists:

‘[It] seems like these old-school do-gooder journalists, some weren’t very good riders when they rode anyway. They don’t see all the training we do now and all the support we have, and can’t seem to get their heads around the fact that things have changed, and maybe don’t want to believe things have changed.’

The post caused quite a stir among readers of Cycling Tips. Following a flurry of comments and tweets, Wallace decided to shut down the comments section to protect the Secret Pro from an identity ‘guessing game’, as well as prevent further finger pointing and general slander towards the pro peloton.

Kimmage’s response

Leading anti-doping advocate and cycling journalist, Paul Kimmage, wasn’t impressed by the Secret Pro’s musing on journalists nor Wade’s decision to make the Pro’s identity secret.

On one level, Kimmage has a point. The Secret Pro is granted a wide audience to say whatever he likes. But it seems some of the Secret Pro’s blows are a little below the belt considering: (a) the Pro doesn’t have to be publicly accountable for his views because his identity is kept secret; and (b) comments have been disallowed ensuring that there is no right of reply, no dissenting voice, and no public contest (in the comments section) of any of the Pro’s opinions published on the site.

To be fair to Wallace, I can fully appreciate why his identity needs to be kept private – no pro would risk their careers through otherwise careless or reckless contributions to cycling blogs!

The concept of an ‘insiders’ view of the pro peloton should be applauded. Given the popularity of the first post, it seems that the Secret Pro is here to stay. Freedom of speech will protect the Pro’s views until the cows come home. But I’d hope that some self-censorship takes place during writing process. After all, there’s no fun to be had secretly assassinating a person’s reputation.

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