On a quiet night in June, Patrik Sinkewitz retired to his chambers to relax for the next day's continuation of the T-Mobile training camp he was attending. For whatever reason -- he was tired? he needed to improve? he just didn't think? -- he reached for a tube of balm containing synthetic testosterone, rubbed it on his upper arms, and launched an endless stream of hysteria in and around German Cycling.
First, the positive test. Sinkewitz, literally "sinking joke," crashed out of the Tour de France in a brutal manner, following the stage to Tignes. The next day, his team dropped the bombshell that a urine sample taken from him during the training camp showed excessive and exogenous testosterone. German TV pulled the plug on the Tour; the hosts of the Stuttgart world championships began openly flirting with canceling the event, and T-Mobile went into as-yet-unfinished deliberations as to whether it was time to check out of Cycling. I've long argued that the Sinking Joke episode is comparatively minor: he was caught; testosterone is a stupid, pointless way of cheating; and he wasn't much of a rider thus far. So maybe, just maybe these reactions were a bit out of proportion.
Enter Hans-Michael Holczer, Gerolsteiner DS. Holczner's super power appears to be his otherworldly level of concern. Remember his doom-and-gloom predictions that Cycling was about to endure its darkest period ever just before the Tour, thanks to Operacion Puerto? Impressive concern levels, if maybe his crystal ball is a bit murky. Next on the chopping block appears to be his legal judgment... but hey, that's some impressive concern there dude:
"This basic position is important: How do we speak internally about doping, how do we handle the subject? This position brings problems with it, by the way, in that it makes us unpopular with a certain part of the peloton. For example, there were riders at the Tour who wouldn't speak to me. But that didn't bother me."
OK, seriously... why is he suing a rider from another team? Maybe people don't speak to you because they have no idea what the hell you're braying about. It's good to see people pitch in in the fight against doping, except when their actions amount to nonsense, in which case it looks like they're just posing for their jittery sponsor or something. I don't know what Holczer's plan is, but the idea of suing Sinking Joke is pretty bizarre, possibly divisive, and hardly the kind of constructive conversation the peloton needs to be having. Just being really, really, really against doping doesn't count for much if it isn't accompanied by at least a shred of common sense.