‘I know a lot of riders paying to be in teams’: Willie Smit uncensored in underworld tales of pro peloton

Few riders are as honest in their assessment of the current state of cycling as South African Willie Smit

Willie Smit
(Image credit: Getty)

“Over the years I haven't been in teams where I've been censored in any way. Whereas in certain teams there's a lot of censoring going on. I've been fortunate in that way...for the time being.”

You don’t meet many riders like Willie Smit. Most riders placate potentially scintillating questions in mixed zones with an answer that isn’t going to get them in trouble. Sometimes, the most you'll be offered is the raise of an eyebrow, letting you know what they aren’t allowed to say. In the off-season, pros may share teases of gossip that are strictly off the record over the phone, but South African Willie Smit is unafraid to tell it as he sees it. And boy, does he have stories to tell.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.