Thursday, 20 January 2011

Prince Albert and two more pricks

It’s been a busy few days in the cycling world, what with one thing and another, and in all the hubbub it’s easy to miss little snippets of information as they come out. Fortunately though, your intrepid seekers of truth and justice here at ‘wagon towers rarely miss a trick, and like to keep our fingers in as many pies as possible. As a result there are a few doping (yes…sorry to keep banging on about it, but it is wrong!) related stories that we feel need discussing.
Firstly, the fable of ‘Prince Alberto and the Septic Steak’. News is emerging today that the Spanish Cycling Federation (herein referred to as SCF) will be waiting a further three weeks before deciding whether Alberto is guilty or not, and whether they will be issuing a suspension. This comes on the back of a statement from an un-named UCI member saying that he expects Contador to receive a two year ban.  Now, we’re all for due process and fair trial but this whole situation seems to have been mismanaged from the start (evidence of clenbuterol abuse surfaced DURING the tour…so why was he allowed to continue riding?). The fact that the SCF are dragging their heels over this can be interpreted two ways:
  • 1)    Contador IS NOT guilty and the long wait is due to a desperate scramble around for any evidence that can be used against him – unlikely.
  • 2)    Contador IS guilty and, in the wake of  Valverde’s doping scandal, the SCF are desperately trying to put some form of damage limitation in place for Contador, the Spanish Cycling Federation, Spanish cycling….or all three.
It’s up to each individual to draw their own conclusions, but the evidence certainly seems ominous for the Spaniard.
Moving swiftly on, and we come to everyone’s favourite nauseating little weasel Riccardo Ricco, who, it seems, has been claiming (to anyone foolhardy enough to listen to him) that it is possible to win the Giro d’Italia without doping, and what’s more, he’s going to prove it. Firstly, how on Earth Ricco would actually know anything about dope-free riding is beyond us as, by all accounts, he’s been a shameless and unrepentant substance abuser since his early amateur days. He’s miraculously changed his ways of late though. Funny what getting caught does to you, eh? Secondly (and this hardly bears thinking about), but if…IF by some despicable twist of fate Ricco did win the Giro without doping, we here at the ‘wagon think we speak for the silent majority when we say it’d be just unbearable as a spectacle. Again, we’ve nothing against giving people a second chance, but only if they’ve earned it – Ivan Basso, as a prime example. But Ricco hasn’t earned it. At all.
Lastly, but by no means least, we come to professional cycling’s very own pantomime villain: Floyd Landis. Yes, he’s back in the news again, this time with the outrageous (and not at all ironic) claims that doping should be legalised. So, the man who had everything, then lost it all, then conned his fans out of thousands and thousands of dollars, then lied in court under oath (let’s not forget this is a man from a very religious background), then lost everything again, then tried to claw back some credibility by accusing all and sundry of being drug-cheats, is now saying that because doping is rife and out of control, it should be legalised. Outstanding, Floyd, what a class act you really are. Cycling may very well be in a bad way at the moment, but to give up the fight and accept it as our lot? With that kind of defeatist attitude it’s no wonder he had to cheat in order to win….

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