Graham Watson – biting the hand that feeds him

For those who haven’t noticed famous cycling photographer Graham Watson stirred up a shit storm. A potential customer was perusing Watson’s website looking at images when he noticed that the URL for the Greg LeMond photos had the word “fool” instead of LeMond’s name. He complained saying, “not everyone is an Armstrong fan, and I was going to buy several prints from you, but no longer, very disappointed.” Watson’s reply was in a rather condescending tone, “I’ve not noticed that mistake, I’ll have my webmaster look at it. Sorry we cannot appease you, I’m a fan of both guys, they both did a lot for my career, just a shame one cannot keep his mouth shut.. 🙂 GW”

Really – not noticed that mistake? Don’t bullshit us by saying you’re a fan of LeMond. I’m just wondering what Watson’s end strategy was by using “fool” for the URL? Did he think he was pulling some inside joke? LeMond is someone who he has made plenty of money from and no matter what your opinion is of LeMond it’s a dicky move. I was irritated by this but decided to calm down. Then I saw more people weigh in on Watson’s URL controversy. Darach McQuaid, brother to Pat McQuaid, tweeted yesterday, “Lots of bloggers/w*****s commenting on @grahamwatson10 view on Lemond. After 32yrs on a moto, methinks his opinion is worthy.” I got to ask again, why does this make his opinion worthy to slag someone whose images have taken him to the bank many a time? As someone on Twitter stated – is this omerta? Just everyone stay quiet and we’ll all make money off of this.

Then the story got a bit weirder. Simone LeMond Twittered that Lance Armstrong was now following her. Obviously Armstrong started following Simone in response to her Twitter comments to Watson. Armstrong replies on Twitter, “Just relax.” Sure Armstrong has a right to reply to someone but it’s a creepy move. I just checked who Armstrong is following on Twitter and as of right now he is not following her. But to ask again, why suddenly follow her and then even engage her? Author Daniel Coyle wrote in his book, “Lance Armstrong’s War” that the seven-time Tour de France champion carefully kept tabs on rivals – both those on the road as well as those in the media, affectionately calling them trolls. This Watson/LeMond discussion is another example of Armstrong keeping tabs on his enemies. I’m not trying to come across as a Armstrong hater – I’m just someone who is curious about his tactic.

The end result is that Watson with his subtle “fool” URL has made it clear he’s on the side of everyone needs to shut up and the past is the past. The only result so far is that the post from Watson’s website from the offended customer has been removed. You can agree or disagree with LeMond and his criticism of the sport, but Watson was completely out of line and owes the three-time Tour de France champion an apology.


  1. Alex O says:

    This whole thing just smacks of Cycling becoming a Jobs for The Boys Club with Armstrong as President.

    Don’t speak out, don’t complain, bury your morals and bank the cash.

  2. MMinSC says:

    Simone LeMond needs to keep HER mouth shut. She’s 21 years and carries a fucking chihuahua around in her purse. Paris Hilton much?
    Does anyone believe that it’s above LeMond NOT to use his daughter as a surrogate mouthpiece…really?
    Simone LeMond wasn’t even a drunken twinkle in her father’s paranoid, jaundiced eye when Greg won the Tour. She speaks of omerta? Maybe she should sit down and have a conversation with her father concerning his rapid recovery from a shotgun blast to the chest.
    I think LeMond has forgotten about all of the shit he jacked into his own veins during his career. Having a touch of the crazy will do that to you!

    • Del says:


      You raging douche-bag. You are every bit as sick and creepy as drugstrong and deserve to punched in the mouth by LeMond and every other father. What sick twist you are attacking a young woman. Go back to day-dreaming of having Lance’s ball in you mouth you a–hole.

    • Christopher Keiser says:

      “Simone LeMond needs to keep HER mouth shut. She’s 21 years and carries a fucking chihuahua around in her purse. Paris Hilton much?”

      Says the commenter who’s avatar is a dog wearing a wig. And a pseudonym…

      Nothing below that line deigns response.

      -Christopher Keiser

  3. kim says:

    Twitter wars fanned by self-anointed Twit Kings/Queens. The world HAS gone mad.

    Maybe Lemond and his lovely children, (his son jumped in the fray with some telling comments) should self reflect and get some class.
    Watson can say whatever the hell he wants just as his detractors can.

  4. Martin says:

    I was one of many that posted comments immediately to Graham when the first exchange was noted by members of the forum on CyclingNews. Not long after I wrote the comment, the entire exchange on Graham’s site was deleted. Unfortunately for Graham this is not going to go away any time soon. Lance has done him no favours either by reacting to Simone’s tweet to Graham. For those that have commented negatively about Simone’s initial tweet, I would suggest that everybody goes and reads what she said. It is probably the most mature and least vitriolic comment on the whole sad farce.

    In the end, Graham loses customers and some contacts in the industry, other people are angry and nobody wins. Stupid, Stupid man…

  5. neil says:

    It makes no odds anyway – in a few years time, we’ll be seeing the words ‘fraud’, ‘cheat’ and ‘liar’ appear in the URL’s of a whole load of photos on a whole load of websites.

    The idolizers will have moved onto another idol, while conveniently side-stepping around the truth about the previous object of their affection.

  6. Grant says:

    I cannot believe the fuss that is being made about all this and that it’s STILL a story. Is everyone associated with this sport so insecure? No one is owed an apology. Everyone needs to take a teaspoon of cement, harden up and move on.

  7. Nigel says:

    Firstly, saying GW earned money off of LeMond is wrong. He earned money off of his talent and skill. I have images of both but they haven’t earnt me anything!

    Does he require an apology? Why, freedom of speech, thought or opinion exists in more places than it does in the good ole USA. It’s not defamation of character, it’s personal opinion.

    The daughters defence. Natural for any child but more worrying is the obvious hatred for Armstrong who has little to with GWs views on any rider. There are many things worth passing on to your children, hatred/paranoia isn’t one of them.

    USA press/media/citizens, grow up and stop being so arrogant towards anyone who may disagree with you.

    • Don MacGregor says:

      “Firstly, saying GW earned money off of LeMond is wrong. He earned money off of his talent and skill. I have images of both but they haven’t earnt me anything!”

      So, Watson can skip the European season next year and focus on domestic crits then? If it’s the photographic talent and not the subject that sells the images, then he can save time and a boatload on travel and just shoot the local industrial park masters races in 2011….

  8. jon says:

    greg lemond sucks. the fact that this is any kind of deal is dumb. shut up and mind your own business people.

  9. Simon Lamb says:

    Good work Neil. I love the way people slag off bloggers and twitter but all read blogs obsessively and use twitter themselves. Funny its a McQuaid that’s sticking up for GW. GW, like Armstrong represents a fading image of cycling. In the same way there are brilliant young riders coming through to remove the Armstrong stain on the sport there are some amazing new young photographer creating real art within cycling photography which is something GW has never been able to capture. I would suggest that GW’s photographs are all about his subject. Without the stars in in snaps they are pretty standard snaps nothing more than that. So yes I agree with you, Lemond should receive an apology. But, we are dealing with some pretty vile characters here so I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t get one.

  10. Rica says:

    IMHO, the whole thing got blown way out of proportion. I have worked on I can’t tell you how many websites where the owners, even when PROMPTED to review all the content to make sure everything is correct don’t. I can imagine that Graham very likely DIDN’T know about the mistake – sometimes you name a file something and never realize that it will display that way, and the CMS you work with pulls the ONE thing you DON’T want to show.

    As far as Lance following Simone, I don’t blame him at all. Personally, I’d be a bit more freaked out by Simone calling HIM out on it. Did she really think that her buzz would go unnoticed?

    I’m not pointing fingers or saying one side is idiotic or the other, but I think sometimes people take some of this far more personally than necessary.

  11. marcia says:

    watson made money off his talent not greg lamond. lamond is a sad person and should just ride off into the sunset and be glad he has such a good life from his bike.He should go live with floyd behind the carwash.

    • Alex O says:

      Let’s not confuse ‘talent’ with ‘being gifted access not available to the vast majority of photographers’.

      • J Daniel says:

        I definitely agree with Alex O.
        There’s very little that’s creative or talented about Watson’s work. Being in the right place is one thing – and can account for sales and publicity, but there’s little talent shown.

    • Fishboy says:

      I completely agree. My wife and I were standing on the Muur in 2006. We stood in place for 3 hours on the final bend near the top. Next to us was an amateur photographer who had setup his stuff before we got there, all to get the perfect shot. 10 minutes before Boonen and Hoste came through, Watson takes his place right in front of us. One of his assistants looks back at the guy next to us, and with complete disregard stands up in front to block his shot. Words were exchanged, and just as Watson’s “henchman” was about to get in our neighbors face, he gives a condescending look and laugh and tells his assistant to stand down. Right then and there, I realized that Graham Watson sits in the same spot EVERY year, and all he produces is the same framed shot EVERY year. Where’s the talent in that?

  12. Really-Really says:

    This whole thread just cracks me up – one tongue in cheek comment some how means that Omerta is in full effect in Watson’s world? Too funny – Sure looked like a snarky comment to me and nothing more – who hasn’t jested about Lemond, Armstrong, Bert, and numerous others… was Watson’s biggest faux pas that he posted it on his site? Get over it an move on…

  13. Bsmall442 says:

    I used to get his calendar for Christmas each year, but I won’t anymore. Any suggestions for a good alternative?

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