News roundup on Di Luca, doping and lying

News & Results

06/3/2013| 0 comments
by Neil Browne
Pat McQuaid is busy with his public relations campaign at this week's Dauphine Libere race leading up to the UCI president elections later this year Fotoreporter Sirotti

News roundup on Di Luca, doping and lying

Doping and sucking up to Armstrong - Just don’t do it!

“Riding in the Giro often means exposure to the uncertainties of the weather. In May, in Italy, and especially in the mountains, it’s easy to run into bad weather - sometimes resulting in pandemonium.”

This is how Marco Pinotti in his book, “The Cycling Professor” described the Giro d’Italia - truer words were never written. Stage 19 was cancelled due to snow and the danger it posed to the riders. Sometimes caution overrides the need for racing, so it was a wise move by the Giro organizers. My editor doesn’t agree. Snow is part of nature; nature is part of road cycling.

However, the other piece of news that dominated the headlines since my last piece was that Danilo Di Luca of Vini Fantini-Selle Italia returned a positive “A” sample for EPO.

I felt like the Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler Saturday Night Live skit, “Really!?!”

Really Danilo? You decided to take EPO now that it can be detected so easily? Hey Danilo - 2009 called and they said it was fine to use human growth hormone patches too. Really?! You know you’ve really screwed up when Lance Armstrong takes to Twitter to call you stupid for doping. Di Luca said he was surprised by the positive result. Really Danilo? A tip-off was that your team kit was glowing as much as you were!

Several years ago I interviewed Di Luca and to my surprise he still has the same cell phone number, which appears in my WhatsApp text messaging contact list. I quickly dropped him a message.

“Can I get an interview with you? Let’s chat.”

The app indicated he’d seen my message – I was briefly hopeful. However, there continues to be no response.

Not a huge surprise, although we did have a lovely interview many years ago. I guess he’s forgotten.

I even sweetened the deal by offering him to stay at my place to wait out the public relations storm. And yes, I do have a guest room - I wouldn’t expect him to couch surf!

Still no reply from the Italian.

The takeaway from this sordid tale is that doping is still around in pro cycling, no matter how many times we say it isn’t. The degree of doping maybe isn’t as deep as it was a few years ago, but it’s still there. Di Luca cooperated with the Italian anti-doping authorities in the past, so the question is, will he roll over on who gave him the “Edger”?

It is being reported that Di Luca’s Giro d’Italia teammate Mauro Santambrogio’s “A” sample also came back positive for EPO. Well Di Luca did say he was there to teach the younger generation of riders…

On a positive note, dopers are slowly being rooted out. That said having two riders positive for the same drug sends off warning signs that there could be a deeper problem on the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia squad. We are no longer at a point in professional cycling where two positives for doping on the same team can be brushed away


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