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by The Secret Pro
February 5, 2020
What’s up, readers. Long time no see. It’s only February, but the year has already kicked off with a bang.
Riders have started taking the Tour Down Under more seriously. Just look at how it wasn’t only Aussies who won stages this year. Then Little Evenepoel demolished everyone in San Juan. That kid is terrifyingly good. And some races have been cancelled already, due to coronavirus and the death of a sultan or something. Just like a mountain stage, we’ve hit some highs and lows already.
But that’s how athletes live, right? Highest of highs, and lowest of lows. We’re known for our taste in the “high life,” right? Pretty women, living in fancy places mere mortals go on vacation to, hanging out in elite company, and of course fast cars. Turns out, some guys didn’t get the message that there’s one brand you should avoid. The fast, red Ferraris. They’re just too conspicuous. Too obvious. People will see you.
In March of last year, I heard a rumour that the notorious Dr Ferrari was out of his lair (I imagine that any such villain has a sweet pad that can only be called a lair). The news this week follows roughly what I heard then, though some details are different.
I heard the infamous doc had been seen out on “his favourite corner” on a climb he was associated with back in the day. A certain somebody in Astana kit was doing a few repeats of the climb.
That was it, but the story was juicy enough to fly through the peloton. I honestly have no idea if any of it is true.
But I won’t lie, it had me worried back then, and I’m more worried now. Have we actually gone back to the same fucking bullshit?
Astana and both the guys in the headlines now, Lutsenko and Fuglsang, had great years in 2019. Just look at their stats and you see a big jump in their progress from 2018 to 2019. Here, I took the liberty of snagging some screenshots from ProCyclingStats for you:
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: When you race with guys all the time, you notice changes in form. Well, we noticed. Maybe they did just get more carbs, though.
Sometimes I feel like the fool that still believes that we are all in the same boat, but we are not. There are always going to be people taking shortcuts, be that in business or in sport.
Cheaters take away a clean rider’s opportunity to win, or to get recognized. A clean rider’s chance to lift their hands in the air and celebrate with their team. A clean rider’s chance to get paid! But what can we do about it? What am I to do when I see these guys at a race?
I don’t know. It just makes me sad.
Now, let’s just wait for this to unfold fully. I don’t really see this case resolving in a quick manner. Why would it.
In the meantime, here are some quotes I expect to see, and how to read between the lines:
“I’ve never worked with Ferrari (the car company).”
“I’ve never shaken hands with him (we prefer fist bumps).”
“I didn’t meet Ferrari in Monaco (we call it Casino city).”
“I never drove to Catalunya in March (I flew there).”
“I never talked with Michele (we both have been trying to learn sign language and it’s going great).”
“I’ve never motorpaced a rider (I use an ebike).”
There is a bright side, though. Clearly I’m not the only one that cares. Clearly there are people fairly close to these riders that stood up and talked. I know I will do the same when I see anything that is suspicious and I’m sure that most of us in the peloton would do the same. There is progress, but we still have a ways to go. Just remember, even the clearest of days have a little cloud somewhere and always will. Just don’t let that ruin the enjoyment of the sport we all love.