A page dedicated to cycling in all its many forms in the Chichester area.

Last updated Wednesday July 27th 2011
© Peter King 2011

Fancy a great day out cycling on the south downs?
Then click below to see how you can take part in this years'

"City of Chichester International Challenge"

There are 55Km and 30Km semi-off road mountain bike rides as well as
runs and walks for those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground.

A superb social day out for all ages and a perfect way to see the south downs
at their best in the middle of summer.

This article is reproduced from Saturday July 25 1998 without permission in the aftermath of the big drugs scandal during that year's Tour De France...

Up to speed with the wheeler dealers

By Harry Pearson
Saturday July 25, 1998

The Tour de France has been engulfed in a drug scandal.
This is nothing out of the ordinary, of course. In fact the
news that Sean Kelly is Irish would probably come as a
shock to more people. All sports have their own forms of
disgrace to contend with: tennis has teenage burn-outs,
football has the captains of triumphant international
under-15 teams dedicating victory to their wife and three
beloved children while rugby union must perpetually
confront Mick Skinner's dress sense. Cycling has narcotics.

Drug taking has been endemic in professional cycling
practically since it started and the riders swallowed
strychnine to slow their heart-rates. As the five-times Tour
de France winner Jacques Anquetil famously remarked,
"You don't ride the Tour on mineral water." Rumour has it
that, when the introduction of drug testing was announced in
the mid-Sixties, several riders volunteered to test

Until the current story broke perhaps the biggest Tour
doping scandal occurred on Alpe d'Huez in 1978 when the
Belgian race leader Michel Pollentier failed his post-stage
drug test not because anything illegal was detected in his
urine but because the sample he provided did not come
from his bladder. Instead it arrived in the flask, via a glass
rod and some tubing, from a rubber bulb concealed under
his arm. Officials became suspicious when Pollentier began
pumping his elbow in and out as if playing a set of bagpipes.

The source of Pollentier's bogus urine has never been
established but the substituting of samples has not been
unheard of since. This in itself is not without its difficulties.
The cheating rider must be careful from whom he takes the
piss. It is alleged that more than one member of the peloton
has been greeted after the samples have been analysed by a
beaming test doctor congratulating him on his pregnancy.

The present furore began when Willy Voet, a Festina team
masseur, was arrested on the Belgium border with a car
boot stuffed full of pharmaceuticals. Voet initially insisted
that the drugs recovered were for his personal use. As the
stash consisted of 400 vials of human growth hormone,
steroids and EPO, it suggested Voet was the Hunter S
Thompson of the body-rub set.

The police were not fooled, however. If Voet had used all
the drugs himself he would have ended up 12ft tall and
weighing 40 stone, with a pelt of thick wiry fur covering his
pendulous breasts.

As we all know from our teenage years, messing about with
human hormones is a dicey business which can have strange
and unwelcome consequences. For decades we heard
rumours that certain female athletes from Eastern Europe
were developing stubbly chins, deep voices and unnatural
desires to spend hours on end in garden sheds. Later it all
turned out to have been the result of systematic use of
steroids by national athletics bodies and DIY superstores
desperate to increase sales of power tools.

The International Cycling Union has had similar warnings. It
should have been alerted to potential wrongdoing in the
peloton a few years back when the riders briefly threatened
to strike unless the route was altered to take in more towns
with really good shoe shops.

At the time the intervention of the dashing Tour directeur,
Bernard Hinault, solved the dispute. He sneaked into the
riders' rooms while they were at dinner, placing a red rose
and a small box of expensive chocolates on their pillows. It
was later hailed as a masterstroke of statesmanship. Now it
appears only to have delayed the inevitable.

The use of human-growth hormone, meanwhile, has long
been suspected in cycling. How else can you explain the
fact that the riders' shirts and shorts are always so tight?

The Festina riders, despite being expelled from the race and
having their team manager allege that they operated a
40,000 drug fund, deny they knew anything untoward was
going on. This is possible because athletes, as we know, are
easily bewildered and cannot always be expected to
understand what is happening around them.

Last season Maikel Aerts, a goalkeeper with FC Den
Bosch, became the first Dutch footballer to fail a drug test.
His excuse was illuminating. Yes, he said, he had snorted
something at a party but he did not know it was cocaine.
Poor chap. He obviously thought he was at one of those
sugar snorting parties that are so popular these days.

In Spain, meanwhile, traces of the steroid nandroline were
detected in the urine sample of Celta Vigo's Borja
Aguirrechu. It turned out it came from pills he was taking to
prevent baldness.

Perhaps this latter incident suggests a way for the ICU to
return some credibility to its tarnished sport. It could simply
put all the drugs found in Voet's car down to a sudden
explosion of hair-loss paranoia in the peloton. With the help
of Marco Pantani and Bjarne Riis, they would probably
have no trouble getting their point across.

Check out this year's Tour De France 2011

A couple of piccies to be going on with:

Git on a rock
A super-fit athlete, ahem, actually yours truly, on hol's in the south
of France a mere 14 years ago (September 1997), taking a breather

at the top of a superb little 1200 ft climb at the

Col du Canadel, near, er, Canadel which is not a million

miles away (about 15 actually) from St Tropez.

My baby...having a rest
Again on hol's in the south of France in '97, Marin taking
a breather at the top of another gorgeous little climb, the

Col de Babaou, en route from somewhere else beginning

with 'B', the name of which escapes me right now,

(where you could buy chestnut flavoured ice-cream - yum)

back to the coast at Le Lavandou. Again only

about twenty miles away from St Trop.

If you have information, please contact me by e-mail or go to the

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Here is an article from a local newspaper demonstrating Chichester's attitude towards cycling (Chichester Observer November 6 1997):

Cash Warning over new cycleways

A cash warning over new cycleways being built in West Sussex was given at a meeting of the county roads and traffic sub-committee. Members were warned that they could be providing routes that no-one wanted. Mr Norman Horton (Con) said evidence should be produced to show that routes were actually being used by cyclists. "I have not seen any evidence myself," he said. "We could be concreting over Sussex to create cycle paths which are not used. "Have we done any research, and are people actually cycling on these? Are more cycles being sold as result of them?" Mr John Mortimer (Lab) told the sub-committee: "I hope we are not spending vast sums of money just hoping desperately that people will use cycleways." He cycled regularly, and if a route at Manor Royal, Crawley, was anything to go by, he doubted if it was used by ten cyclists a day. Mr Mortimer said: "Cycleways need planning very, very carefully. You have to know the cyclists will use them, not hope they will do so." Mr David Dewdney (Con), chairman of the county highways and transport committee, said people would not cycle unless there were safe routes. "This may take a generation to build up," he declared. "Long distance cycle routes will be very slow to develop. People will not all leap on their bikes. The county had to put money in these schemes when it was available. Routes between schools and home and factory and home were to be encouraged, he believed. "Unless we try, no-one will cycle, and in a few years' time, when we cannot use cars because roads are jammed, it is no good saying we wish we had built cycle routes."

Salterns Way at EveryTrail

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