Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

An evening with David Walsh and Shane Sutton

Posted by Matt | June 27, 2013 | 2 comments so far

The view over Wapping

With the Tour de France about to kick off for the 100th time, I’ve decided that this year I shall make a reasonable attempt to follow the action from the comfort of my armchair. I’m not really an expert on this sort of thing, since it involves tarmac and competition and not mud and laughs, but I figure if you don’t trouble to understand something you can hardly complain that, as it happens, you don’t understand something!

All this is preamble en-route to explaining that on Tuesday night myself and Barrie joined Dandy and La Dandina on a visit to ye olde London town for a Q&A evening with David Walsh, UK sports journalist of the year and chief sportswriter at The Times. David’s latest book is called Seven Deadly Sins, about Lance Armstrong’s ultimate cheat’s failure; that of getting caught. David was also spent much of last year with exclusive access to Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins so he’s quite an interesting guy.

Also joining David on the platform was Shane Sutton, the head coach at British Cycling and one of the men responsible for getting the best out of Bradley Wiggins.

The evening was hosted at News International’s rather impressive London offices in Wapping and from the 13th floor, the view, as you can see, was quite marvellous in the glow of a warm summer’s evening. With plenty of free beer on hand, we spent a very enjoyable couple of hours listening to David and Shane’s thoughts on the upcoming Tour, Chris Froome’s prospects of winning, Bradley Wiggin’s health (!), and doping. Lots of talk about doping, especially the ‘bad old days’ of the Lance era but going backward and forward from there.

Logically, with so many classic Tour stages ‘probably’ won by riders on drugs one should discount any respect for those riders and their achievements, but neither of our speakers was really able to deny the greatness of some of the legends of the sport. As David disingenously said, originally drugs helped riders reach their potential whereas now, drugs help riders go far beyond. I’m not sure I see much difference, and it’s weird to hear something like that from someone who consistently called Lance Armstrong out on drugs, and got heavily criticised for doing so, but I guess it shows that watching the Tour leaves a lasting – and perhaps overly romantic – impression on everybody that’s hard to shake.

After that the floor was open for people to ask them questions and with a knowledgeable crowd of cycling fans there was some interesting discussion. Barrie was itching to ask about the ‘coincidence’ of Yates leaving Team Sky at the end of last year when David Brailsford was asking for signed statements of cleanliness but had to wait until after the show before he could nab David. What a wind up merchant!

Incidentally, that’s the only event I’ve ever been to where there was a queue for the gents afterward! Must be all that beer.

Talking of beer, we adjorned to the Dickens Inn on the St. Katharine’s Dock shortly after and I topped things off with a large (and hot) Cornish Pasty on the way home.

Thanks to Dandy for sorting out tickets to this event, I really enjoyed the evening and I think I’m ready to settle down for three weeks with the remote control now…

Filed under Lifestyle, Mutterings in June 2013


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 2 comments on ‘An evening with David Walsh and Shane Sutton’

We love to get comments from our readers - if you've spent a few moments to comment, thank-you.

  1. paul901 says:

    So many comments one can make and any of the cycling forums are full of them across many years. Cycling has never been clean, riders have always sought advantage, 100+ years of sabotage tricks performance advantage etc. I remember how low I felt when the Festina affair blew and Richard Virenque was the darling of France at the time. I never really focused too much on the Armstrong years as riders come and go and as the web shows, if you try and look for clean riders in the top 10 of any major tour in the Armstrong era you don’t have many left. I guess it just spiralled out of proportion to the point it had to stop.

    The Tour for me has always been about colour, panache, excitement, a touch of France, the scenery in the background, ability you can only dream of and a bit like an annual summer holiday. I am normally sad before the race has finished in the way you were sad in late August as a kid because summer was coming to a close. I love the 3-week races but how any athlete can compete like that without drugs has always been one for debate. Just as I wonder how professional footballers play 60 matches a year at the highest level. Ah well.

    As an aside, my favourite Tour TV moments were always the diversion to whichever region the race was in that day for a bit of local history, I used that more than once for inspiration. Such as seeking out Blois Chateau when in the Loire for a visit.

  2. Bazza says:

    me a wind up merchant…. never!
    but it was funny watching David’s hand on the door to the toilets, getting whiter and whiter, the poor chap must have been dying by the time we let him go in.
    Great evening matt with a few beers after, shame you did look hungry

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