When is it a good time to get the old band back together again? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself when I heard the news that several members of the 1999 Tour de France winning U.S. Postal Service (USPS) team would be riding together at the 25 October Gran Fondo Hincapie.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

USPS alumni George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong Christian Vande Velde, Kevin Livingston, Michael Barry and Tom Danielson will be joined by the likes of fresh faced Tejay van Garderen and Alex Howes in the annual event.

We can be cynical jokers about this. I know I've already thought up a few not so funny zingers about blood bags and Motoman. It's great fun for about ten seconds but I'm tired of making sport with these guys.

I'm sure many cycling fans will be ropeable at the sight of these old conspirators having fun but for me it's time we all got on with our lives and address the present.

We know who they are, we know what they have done. They know we know. Some of us have forgiven them given the context of the time. Some of us have not forgiven them but have moved on. Then there are the perpetual haters. There's nothing we, or the 1999 USPS band, can do about them. They're in too deep.

"These (former USPS team-mates) spent a lot of years together," David Zabriskie told Neal Rogers of Velonews. "You can't just wipe that away. There's a lot of baggage in the past, but I think some friendships can transcend that. Some people out there, maybe they can't move on past what happened, but for some of these guys, they are able to move forward. It's interesting that Lance, if anyone, can put it all in the past and move on."


There is a lot wrong with professional road cycling, and of course doping itself persists with some old-school dead-enders continuing to live in the past. Yes, I'm looking at you Vino. But I think after the shock of the USPS/Discovery era we now have a compartment in which to place all of it.

But what of the invited new breed like van Garderen and Howes, how should they approach it? Should they quarantine themselves from Lance, George and the rest? How should we think of them? What do they think of themselves?

Howes of Garmin-Sharp perfectly articulates the mixed feelings that sometimes come with these associations.

"I don't know. I feel like I'm playing kind of the ignorance card when I say I don't really think about it," said Howes. "But I really don't.

"Like those guys, guys like Vande Velde and Hincapie and Zabriskie and that Lance guy. With as involved in the sport as they were for so many years, unless the world was flat and they could just fall off the edge, they're really not going to be going anywhere too fast. And for us younger guys, this newer generation, it's been kind of a balancing act. Learning how to be friends with them, help them kind of reintegrate into clean cycling. And also kind of create our own identity I suppose, as a generation.

"And it's not easy, and I feel like we're doing a relatively good job. I'm pretty proud of where we are from a results standpoint. From an ethical standpoint … Where we stay in our little bubble, how we relate to the rest of population, I don't know. It's complicated. It's absolutely not black and white."

Yep, it's complicated, just like real life. You can choose to hold on to the hate, or you can choose to move on and see the USPS band for what they are, flawed human beings who made mistakes when they were young. Just like me, just like you.

I hope they have a great weekend of riding together. After all, it is about the bike. Now what are Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis doing that weekend?