OK, I admit it — an independent investigation has revealed that, in the week following Christmas, I tested positive for mince pies. I maintain I’ve done nothing wrong, and kept rigorously within the six-pie limit that decency allows. Quite how the result said I’d huffed down twelve a day I don’t know. I’m not saying the result is wrong. And yet I’m saying I only ate six. Confused? That’s for the authorities to quietly look into.
Personally, I think somebody should phone TV physicist professor Brian Cox, as he might explain that I’m trapped in a quantum state of being both over and under the limit simultaneously, and go on to explain — with much enthusiasm and a Northern twinkle — why my waveform hasn’t collapsed into a single state when measured.
If it’s not a blip in the underlying reality of the universe, which let’s face it you can’t prove it wasn’t, the only remaining explanation is that I was dehydrated, thus suddenly doubling the legal limit while remaining innocent. It’s entirely believable that this important test would not be designed to take dehydration into account. Who’d expect a cyclist to get dehydrated? I also suspect that if I just keep insisting on my own reality then all this will go away, because that’s how life works now.
My worry is not for myself, but for others. What if this scandal stops people who medically need pastry from enjoying it in fear of being judged, or investigated, or simply prodded in the gut and giggled at? If I’m held to account, we could have a tragedy on our hands. Am I alone in my compassion?
In many ways I feel a kinship with Chris Froome, who recently ‘failed’ a similar ‘test’ despite not doing anything to create the results, which we can all agree exist. Like Froome, who faces losing his record-breaking Vuelta win and perhaps exclusion from 2018’s Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, I’m looking at harsh punishment.
My legendary Strava result (80th) up Talgarth Dogging Lane hangs in the balance, and God knows I’m at VO2 max there for fear of seeing what’s in the laybys. Such a tragic waste of effort.
You shouldn’t connect this scandal, not that it is one, with any previous scandals my team has been involved in, not that there were any. In many ways I feel a strong kinship with Bradley Wiggins on this. Riding for the same team as Froome (Team Sky), Wiggins had his name dragged through the therapeutically exceptional mud during a long, expensive investigation into a mysterious jiffy bag delivered during the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2011.
And yet, after 14 months and 37 witness interviews, the UK Anti-Doping Agency still couldn’t say for sure what was in the bag; no more than they could prove what was in the mysterious Mr Kipling box delivered to my house by Ocado during December of the same year. While I, like Team Sky, take every care to keep meticulous records, I’ve looked everywhere and just can’t find the receipt. Nothing was proven. Everything was fine. Move along now.
My own team (Team Quick-Sleeps on Floor) is as clean and transparent as the little cellophane window in a box of mince pies. It’s kind of our thing; the whole ethos behind our creation. So I must admit I’m perplexed as to how these new results show I ate 100 percent too many pies. I’ve told you I didn’t. Evidence saying I did doesn’t prove a thing. I freely admit that all 12 mince pies are in my stomach, but as I only ate six there must be some other explanation. Seriously, the authorities have a lot of explaining to do. The UK Anti-Pastry Agency is in tatters. Many people are very, very angry.
Even famous massive cycling cheat Lance Armstrong is angry, and not just because of all the testosterone he was doping with. Even if Froome is cleared, he says, the damage is done and that Froome is "tarnished forever". The former no-times winner of the Tour de France went on to warn that press ‘mayhem’ when being exposed as a massive cheat is really "unpleasant," "ain’t any fun" and that he "knows exactly what that feels like." You’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel sorry for him.
Of course, cycling has cleaned up its act since then. As have I. Team Quick-Sleeps on Floor is famous for its zero-tolerance policy towards failed tests, and quite rightly is selectively ignoring that for me now. After all, I’m the biggest name they’ve got, and also the only person in the team. (As such I’m HR manager, and after a thorough investigation I’ve cleared myself of all wrongdoing.)
Together with the team, I will provide whatever information the authorities require to understand how my test failure and my complete innocence are, in fact, simply both true at the same time.
I’m confident we’ll get to the bottom of this.