Twisted Spoke

My twisted take on the world of pro bike racing.

Posts Tagged ‘conspiracy

CONI recommends three-year ban for Di Luca. The evil conspiracy continues.

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The bad news: no kisses for three years.

On this holiday season we thank Danilo di Luca. He is the gift that just keeps giving.

Since testing positive twice for the EPO variant CERA in this year’s Giro, Di Luca has been an entertaining subject.

He’s outraged, he’s defiant, he’s baffled and confused. The dashing, handsome and flamboyant Di Luca gives press conferences, running his hands through his stylish hair as he attempts to explain the inexplicable.

How could this have happened? He has proclaimed his innocence far and wide like Stefan Schumacher, Mikel Astarloza and Davide Rebellin. Somebody else was the guilty party. They’d tampered with his samples, they’d ignored the testing protocols — always the mysterious “they,” the vindictive “them,” the secretive and malicious “somebody” that had singled out di Luca for reasons unknown and sought to destroy him.

Sounds like Di Luca has been watching the whole box set of the X-files. This kind of far fetched story-telling is usually reserved for Hollywood. But then, Di Luca is a huge star in Italy and somebody is trying to kill the self-styled “Killer.”

Happy holidays everyone, Danilo di Luca has the microphone again. When hard science is against you, there’s no point in defending yourself with factual arguments. It’s time to go, megaphone please, Beyond Logic. Di Luca trotted out the time honored “conspiracy theory” once again.

“The UCI knows what it wants. In cycling, it’s always first the hammer, then an apology,” said Di Luca. “It always happens to me before Worlds – and this time the course was tailored for me.” Yes, it’s that big, bad UCI and their mean-spirited dope tests at fault.

The strength and weakness of the conspiracy theory is perfect in cycling. You can’t prove or disprove it. You can keep repeating the theory forever because having no basis in fact, lawyers and scientists can’t argue against it.  And being accepted as truth by Di Luca’s fans, it becomes its own separate reality. The tifosi are immune to rational argument in the same way you’d never convince a hard core Barry Bonds fan that he’d abused the secret sauce.

“I am certain that I will race the next Giro d’Italia,” Di Luca said in August. “I’m ready to wager. I have not taken anything, and there is a possibility, without a doubt, that I will be acquitted.” It’s a natural fit, isn’t it — conspiracy theories and gambling?

The odds don’t look so hot for Di Luca since the UCI isn’t much on farcical theory. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) is recommending a three-year ban. They tacked on the extra 12 months to the standard two-year years “for aggravating circumstances.” Which means they think the Italian rider is a jerk and a habitual offender — taking into account his previous suspension in the ‘Oil for Drugs’ doping scandal.

We’re looking at The Killer On Ice. Three years and done. In the meantime, enjoy the comedy. It’s Christmas and Di Luca is in a giving mood.


Written by walshworld

December 17, 2009 at 9:12 am

The conspiracy farce. Danilo Di Luca joins the implausibility parade.

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I'll sign this autograph if you come up with a good conspiracy theory.

I'll sign this autograph if you come up with a good conspiracy theory.

Lies, denials and attempts to discredit labs and testing methodologies are one thing. But far too often accused riders who’ve failed drug tests stretch the limits of credibility by blaming their positive tests on a conspiracy.

Names are never named, theories are never explained, facts uncovered or witnesses produced. There is never any legal or logical plausibility to these conspiracies. They just exist in an ether that is almost supernatural or science fiction.

Today, Danilo di Luca, he of the failed A and B sample taken on two Giro stages, turned desperate with the “conspiracy” theory. Said Di Luca, “I just can’t explain the two positive tests at the Giro. I’m not ruling out a conspiracy but before I can confirm it I have to be sure.” Good luck with that.

There is a long line of such laughable behavior. Alexandre Vinokourov blamed a vague conspiracy to “tarnish our image” and derail his tour de France preparations.

Floyd Landis insisted there was a “conspiracy” at the Chatenay-Malabry lab to discredit him and strip him of his fairly earned Tour de France victory. He spent two million dollars on his defense but very few people believe that yarn.

Following his suspension for doping, Iban Mayo, the Basque super climber, ranted that there was a conspiracy at the UCI. The Saunier Duval rider believed they were out to discredit him for reasons he never made clear, supported or proved.

Marco Pantani, a man filled with delusions of grandeur and the habit of referring to himself in the third person, felt he too was persecuted. The rider once referred to as Mr. 60% for his sky high hematocrit level, alleged he was, you guessed it,  “a victim of a conspiracy.”

Lithuania rider Raimondas Rumsas, third in the 2003 Tour de France, reacted to his doping suspension with an extra twist: the conspiracy was perpetrated by his own team. He followed that outlandish claim with this gem: “It could be that (Lampre) wants to get rid of me…” He had no explanation for the large quantity of doping products the French police found in his wife’s car.

Richard Virenque, the rider at the center of the infamous Festina doping scandal, denied his guilt for years even when three of his team-mates admitted to a whole host of illegal drugs. Before eventually confessing, the winner of seven Polka Dot jerseys went on tv in tears to proclaim his innocence and that yes, he was a victim of a conspiracy.

One thing seems clear: the bigger the ego, the more likely the conspiracy excuse. This far-fetched explanation requires the kind of out-of-control ego that’s lost all concept of truth. The kind of person who believes they operate in a separate universe where all rules and regulations are theirs to twist with no regard for meaning.

Conspiracy theories work well for presidential assassinations, Wall Street financial scandals and Hollywood back stabbing. But it strains credibility in the world of professional cycling. Danilo di Luca is like the kid who claims Nazi frogmen stole his homework.

Next up, Alejandro Valverde. After being banned for two years in Italy, the Spanish rider will most likely have that extended to the rest of the cycling world. Expect a conspiracy explanation from Alejandro very soon. But don’t expect any facts to go with it.

Written by walshworld

August 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm