Alberto Contador. Honey as metaphor.

Spanish honey.

Today’s announcement that Alberto Contador will receive his own weight in honey was rife with comedic implication and metaphor.

The ceremony, the honey hand-over, is to happen on January 7th in the small town square of Peñalver, to the east of Madrid. Our first thought: sweet and sour! He’s going to get a ton of honey but a week later things may not be so incredibly sweet.

Barring the usual postponement, the Court for Arbitration in Sport will deliver a verdict in the Spaniard’s doping positive for clenbuterol in mid January. That outcome might be sour news and a bitter one or two year suspension. On the other hand, this ruling is a 50-50 toss up. January may in fact be a sweet triumph and vindication for the world’s best stage racer.

Mayor José Ángel Parra decided that Contador was light enough at 60kg that the skinny climber deserved some extra weight — so he’s throwing in the kilos of Alberto’s six tour-winning bikes. Parra was charming in his explanation, saying that the town didn’t want to come off as “stingy” with the honey.

However, Twisted Spoke wonders if this honey ceremony isn’t a subtle comment and poetic allusion to Contador’s legal problems. Ever since he failed a doping test on the second rest day of the 2010 Tour de France, things have been sticky.

The “tainted steak” alibi has been hotly debated, the UCI bungled the case, the Spanish Federation refused to sanction their famous son and the proceedings dragged on through the 2011 Tour de France and beyond. Slow, very slow, like pouring cold honey.

The “sticky” honey metaphor is a good one for the biggest doping case in professional cycling. Associated Press sports columnist John Leicester reported that by the time Contador’s legal submission reached CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland it was over 3,500 pages. As we noted in an earlier story, that beats the page count of Tolstoy’s epic novel War & Peace.

Imagine you have the unenviable task of wading through that avalanche of scientific claims from Contador’s legal team and then you have to tackle the UCI and WADA documents. We’re guessing that Pat McQuaid’s boys churned out at least 1500 pages, give or take a few graphs and charts. Sticky? You bet. The three judges Ulrich Haas, Quentin Byrne-Sutton and Efraim Barak are stuck in a room dealing with a complicated and contentious case — and facing major eye strain.

In closing, we should also note that honey makes a terrific marinade. Perhaps Alberto Contador will soon be in the kitchen trying out a honey marinade for steak.

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  • Henkio

    Don't forget this is all closely tied to the European financial crisis.

    Greece was plowing through the mud, way out of their league (http://www.depers.nl/sport/606813/Constantilopolis-strandt-in-het-zand.html).
    Italy was just being batshit insane as always, taking risks beyond belief (see Ricco transfusion case).
    And then there was Spain, suddenly on par with the elite on every level, living well above their means (Puerto, Galgo, every Spanish athlete in the last 15 years)

    Off course 'Holier than thou' France and Germany are pointing fingers and taking measures now, willfully forgetting they were a big part of the problem to begin with (Festina, German cycling 1946 – 2010)

    So the outcome of Berto's case will probably decide the future of Europe as a whole.
    No punishment for AC will mean the Mediterranean countries can keep doing what they want on every level and we are all down the shitter.

    No wonder they're taking their time.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Henkio, agreed. If Contador goes free the last 10 years of progress in the fight against doping goes down the drain. Whether he is guilty or not, given the rules in place, he has to be sanctioned or the whole sport is a mess and every doping case in the future is an automatic free-for-all dsiaster. I feel bad for Alberto but I'll feel worse for the sport. Matt

  • Lyndon

    Sweet!!
    A quick search has revealed that, on average, a kilo of honey contains about 3000 calories. Assuming that he will receive about 110 kilos, that's 330000 kcal worth of honey. These numbers would cause most climbers to break out in a cold sweat. They would also, I believe, cause Pozzato to shrug his shoulders and order another full fat latte.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Lyndon, thanks for the honey intel. I think Contador is about to get banned so there's honey for him to fatten up on. Matt

  • http://www.fixie-bikes.net Fixie

    After the way Pat McQuaid tried to hush it all up originally I hope Alberto does the decent thing and shares half of the honey with him.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Fixie, there is plenty of honey to go around. The Spanish Cycling Federation certainly deserves a large portion of the honey. Matt

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405400045 Loay

    Je rgerette que vous les français aient vraiment cette sorte de haine contre ce qui est américain. LA, c´est un homme extraordinaire. Je me demande encore aujourd´hui, que si on nous donnait à tous de l´EPOS pour faire de la course, est-ce qu´il n y aura pas un vainqueur et un échec, ou un grimpeur ou un courreur. Même dans une ecole on avait tous la matière pour en etudier, à la fin il y avait toujours un plus meilleur que les autres. Mrs les français, vous avez votre chance maintenant, prennez-le evincez-le ou même torturez-le, peut être il vous dire ce qu´il ne sait pas lui même pour en finir avec les douleurs.Vous devez beaucoup à l´amerique..