Dirty Dopers and Damn Assumptions.

by wjohngalloway

Today Juan Jose Cobo Acebo won the 2011 Vuelta Espana after a total of 3295km of racing. Twitter has been afire with suspicions about his murky past. Hell, he beat our new British hero (was unaware that bits of Africa still counted as British) Chris Froome and relegated our Brad to third!

He must be cheating!

Given the number of folk citing his dodgy history I’m surprised there’s any doubt in folk’s minds.

So. Cobo as doper? Well, during the Ricco “golden years” of Saunier Duval? As Riccardo and Piepoli danced up the mountains fuelled by blood the consistency of molasses? Cobo was there. Doped to the gills in a team dirty as a dirty thing’s dirty bits. Dirty rider IMHO. No proof, just opinion, but the differences were HUGE.

This year, on this Vuelta though? Given the tentatively brave new world of possibly, maybe, might just be credible, clean racing?

Let’s take a look at some of those assumptions and assertions.

“His ride to take the red jersey was “incredible””

Well he won the Angliru stage but, on the most heinous stage on the Modern Grand Tour circuit, he managed to wrestle a whole 48 seconds from a Chris Froome who’d clearly waited on the hill for Wiggins.

48 seconds?

A damning indictment! What are we to make of riders who gain more than that gap on any easier stage? Dopers all?

Let’s look at the finish of the three weeks.

After 3295km of racing he beat Froome ( a denizen of Her Majesty’s Empire so obviously squeaky clean) by a whole 13 seconds. That’s 0.0949924127 seconds per kilometer. Clear justification for hints of dopage. Hell, all those thousands of Euros paid to the likes of Fuentes for less than .1 of a second per kilometer? Money well spent. Is 0.0949924127 seconds per kilometer the difference between doper and paragon?

OK, all this Reductio ad absurdum shit is fun but the bottom line is that we live in changing times and our attitudes need to change with those times.

Rider who doped may be clean now whatever they did in the past.

Intelligent training may have narrowed the gap.

Big races have been more credible.

Constant cynicism is killing the sport we love. Doping is worse but why bother watching a sport in which every exceptional performance is greeted with scepticism?

My position? My bottom line given the current situation?

I don’t think I could express it better than I did in this tweet to my chum Stu Maclean this evening.

“Actually what this all comes down to is due process. I’m sick of the UCI applying rulings as they see fit. I’m sick of folk slandering riders and trying them in the court of public opinion. I want a fair, transparent, process that riders and public alike can trust. I want change.”

If you’re unhappy with an aspect of our sport? Strive to make a difference.

If you’re just moaning or speculating? STFU!

Dopers suck, so do haters.

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