Italian judge produces more hot air on doping.

Benedetto Roberti, the Italian judge behind one of the never-ending investigations of Dr. Michelle Ferrari, made a few dire pronouncements on doping in an interview with Tuttobici magazine.

Twisted Spoke often has the feeling that Italian anti-doping people are more skilled with media pronouncements than actually bringing their investigations to a conclusion, good or bad. For example, the Padua and Montova cases seem to drag on endlessly without ever leading to bans or suspensions of the riders in question.

The Italian authorities have investigated the infamous Dr Ferrari numerous times for more than ten years and yet the man continues to set up doping programs for riders. The recent “punishment” for Filippo Pozzato and Giovanni Visconti amounted to a meaningless micro-suspension of three months. As justice goes, it’s hard not to call that laughable.

While Roberti may be a tireless crusader against doping, we have to measure him — and his Italian counterparts — against the high bar set by USADA’s Travis Tygart. In three short months, his team built an overwhelming and irrefutable case against cycling legend Lance Armstrong. Tygart exposed the Texan as a cheat and bully and set in motion the destruction of the entire Armstrong Myth.

Those who followed the USADA investigation noted that Tygart made very few “pronouncements” along the way. While the Armstrong camp tried every legal trick in the book and launched personal attacks on Tygart in the media, the USADA CEO kept his public statements short and professional and non-Italian.

There’s no question that Roberti has been forceful and thorough in his investigations but we have yet to see these efforts translated into results. What we do get is the on-going opera and dramatics about this rider or that rider and this pharmacist and that team doctor and those teams. Lots of fireworks and loud shouting and bold headlines signifying not much. It’s great theater and poor justice.

Speaking on doping in cycling, Roberti was quoted as saying “I’ve seen things people can’t even imagine.” What Twisted Spoke can’t imagine is an Italian doping investigation that produces some results. Roberti decries the fact that the doping culture continues to exist. Well, uhh, how about handing out a few suspensions instead of just talking about it?

Roberti then delivers his dire assessment of the sport in general: “So have things improved? Has sport and especially cycling really taken a new direction? I say no and whoever says the opposite doesn’t love our sport.”

The issue isn’t love but rather tough love. Until Roberti and Mantova and Padua produce something meaningful in terms or suspensions and bans, this is all just hot air. Roberti can talk all day about the evils of doping but we have to say, show me the money.

Where is the Italian Travis Tygart?

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  • Shawn

    Perhaps a better point is that while Italy has a very slow justice system, they are actually attempting to prosecute dopers as opposed to U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. who dropped his criminal investigation.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Shawn, Birotte should have already been disbarred. Inexusable. The Lance people probably promised him they’d help get him on the Supreme Court. Matt

  • The SuperStorm

    If what Judge Roberti says is in fact true, than cycling has a much larger problem than Blood Boosting or EPO. I read his interview in the Italian press and it paints a still very disturbing and dim view of pro-cycling’s “win at any cost” methods. In researching some of what he talked about I found something even more interesting that is now popping up in medicine and sport.
    Secretagogue mapping. Used in cancer patients with much success, it has the ability to turn on and off certain chemical processes to allow the body to produce say; more Red Blood Cells, reduce Lactic Acid, stabilize creatin, change proteins and other levels. All done by the bodies own function(s). Completely undetected.

    Lets say your a Neo-pro just coming into the sport and have been through this process or set of processes, no one would know what was going on because every time your tested, nothing shows as being out of place. “When he or she was tested at say 18, their VO2 levels were at 96% and HCT is 69.5% and all natural.” Science in sport folks. How the hell would you test for this?

    Yes we all should know by now that cycling has been very dirty for a very long time, but if this process takes hold then it could be a real game changer. Genetically engineered cyclists. So instead of one or two elite riders climbing L’Alpe duez in a record 12.5 minutes the whole peloton would. Is that so bad? One has to wonder…

    “Look at them all dancing on the peddles like angels from above!” Phil Liggett quote from the 2015 Tour De Farce.

    Something to think about…

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      The genetic stuff is scary to think about. Reminds me that they caught the EPO Cera guys because WADA worked with the Pharma company to insert a ‘marker” in the drug so they could test for it. Perhaps we will see more of that collaboration in the future. I sure hope so. Matt