My new cycling hero is veteran cyclist, Ian Benton. It used to be Lance Armstrong but somewhat compelling (but as yet untested) evidence has led me to believe that he allegedly used performance enhancing drugs systematically throughout his cycling career.
Ian also takes drugs, namely Warforin (otherwise used to poison rats), a performance reducing drug which thins the blood and presumably depletes the red blood cell count. And he also cycles pathologically.
He recently spent three weeks in Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, England with a suspected heart attack. He then spent a further ten days in a leading coronary hospital in Leicester, also in England during which he had a somewhat ghastly exploratory operation, the results of which proved inconclusive.
Whilst hospitalized, he was prevented by the medical staff from travelling further than ten meters in his ward, other than by wheelchair, for fear of a heart attack.
Some two weeks following his release, deranged and reputedly saying, “Put me back on my bike”, he completed Co-operation Ireland, a 160 mile ride in two days. The first day comprised a ninety mile ride over some fairly brutal hills in Northern Ireland. The second day was a somewhat more sedate 70 mile outing.
The UCI is apparently investigating matters and both parties have instructed expert legal counsel. Former cycling ace and fervent anti-drugs campaigner, Greg Lemond, declined to comment when questioned outside his Los Angeles home. My dad remains my cycling hero.