Many may have reason to be nervous about retiring cycling star Thor Hushovd’s decision to write a book about his international career. His book, due in October, will contain stories about the cheaters and doping he’s encountered as a professional cyclist over the past 15 years.
It’s been a time of seemingly constant doping scandals within Hushovd’s sport, culminating in the stunning admissions of guilt by fallen star Lance Armstrong, who finally said he’d been downright lying about his use of illegal performance-enhancing substances. Hushovd was disgusted, and it was bittersweet at best when Armstrong sent Hushovd a message of congratulations after the Norwegian’s retirement announcement last week. It wasn’t immediately clear how Hushovd responded.
Hushovd has always managed to distance himself from fellow cyclists who gave the sport a bad name. Norwegian commentators, like Reidar Sollie in Oslo newspaper Dagsavisen, have marveled at what they call Hushovd’s “patience” with all the cheaters in cycling. While always in awe over the pure strength and stamina that Hushovd (often called “the oxe from Grimstad”) is famous for, it’s his “patience with cheating competitors” that was most remarkable, they say.
“He has been a professional cyclist for 15 years and he has seen innumerable competitors disqualified and convicted over doping,” Sollie wrote over the weekend. “He has cycled in races where he’s surrounded by cheaters. During this time he hasn’t only won 10 stages of the Tour de France, he’s been among the top three 22 times.”
He’s clearly been fed up by those who beat him by cheating. He doesn’t seem to be seeking revenge, but he’s decided to at least lift the veil on what he’s seen and heard during all the scandals. He confirmed his book will expose what he’s experienced first-hand.
“It will be an honest book,” Hushovd told Norwegian news bureau NTB. “There will of course be things in it that will spark headlines.” He admitted that he’s felt cheated out of several better spots on the winners’ platforms during the course of his career, after it became known that those who won were found to be guilty of doping.
“It’s gotten worse and worse, given everything that’s come to the surface over the last few years,” Hushovd told NTB. As it turned out, Hushovd hasn’t cycled in a single Tour de France without someone in it being caught for doping. “What has he thought, what has he known?” wondered Sollie. “What has he been tempted by over the years? We’ll hopefully get some of the answers when he writes down his thoughts this fall. The most effective campaign against doping is that in which players tell what they know.”
Hushovd certainly has stories to tell. Meanwhile, the former world champion still plans to take one more stab at winning his most cherished title again, and then he’ll ride off into the proverbial sunset before re-emerging in bookstores.