Pedaling Toward Redemption
Are the reputations of some riders too far damaged?
off looking offensively unpleasant and vexatious by only coming clean when faced with a career-ending ban and then never publicly making amends. Some might say the same of Millar. He only admitted to doping after spending time in a French jail cell. The difference between Millar and Di Luca is the Scotsman took a very public anti-doping position. Di Luca? Well not so much...
Mancebo might get lucky. The Spanish judge in the Operation Puerto case is asking for the blood bag evidence to be destroyed. If that happens we'll never quite know if he was receiving some artificial help. This goes back to why there isn't much obvious public support for Mancebo to be seen these days. The cycling fans are jaded with who to believe. Lance Armstrong's admission of guilt was a kick to the gut to even his most faithful followers. So when a professional cyclist has evidence stacked against him (or her) and is able to skate away from any charges, people get testy.
People want justice - that's what it boils down to. For some, Armstrong was unfairly persecuted for something most of the peloton was doing. For others he is the poster boy for organized doping and deserved to be roasted over a fire. I had one person tell me the Texan was “evil”. I'm no Armstrong fan and I think he has some sociopathic tendencies, but I don't think he's evil. You can pick up the front page of any newspaper and read about what evil truly is. Regardless, there isn't a sense of closure. Many people still feel cheated. Armstrong is still full of hubris with the not so subtle Twitter icon, “Never Quit” message on a bridge he is about to run under. Again, not a lot of closure for those who want to or at least try to move on from those dirty days of professional cycling.
In the case of Di Luca and Mancebo we may never get that complete sense of closure. Di Luca took his suspension and returned to racing - nothing more can be done. Mancebo was never suspended or brought up on charges, and unless the blood bags aren't destroyed we may never get to the bottom of the mystery, did he or did he not dope. This is real life and things aren't always wrapped up neatly for us.
Chances are Mancebo is going to win again at some point during this season. Heck, it might even be at this year’s Amgen Tour of California. A victory for his small squad would be a huge boost for them and perhaps guarantee a continuing sponsorship or maybe new company logos on the team kit for next year? From a personal standpoint I'd like the 5 Hour Energy-Kenda squad to succeed. I like Frankie Andreu and he deserves success. But at any price?
Di Luca could also win this season as well. He has been aggressive in the Giro d’Italia so far and he might yet make a winning move.
But with every pedal stroke these two, and