Riccardo Ricco’s open letter to press. A Vino inspiration.
I am sad and blue and upset. When I came back from that unfair and forced two year suspension, I thought the media would celebrate my return. How wrong I was. These hurtful insults must cease and so I will make a few rhetorical points like my good friend Vino.
Cycling journalists are such a minority if you consider the world population or even the number of writers in the world. Who cheers for writers? Are there magazines with pictures of cycling journalists on the cover? Does anyone want to read of their exploits? I don’t think so.
If they are so talented and brilliant, where is their novel, their screenplay, their book of poems? I win big races and they resent that the tifosi shower me with affection. It is jealousy pure and simple and so they attack me without mercy.
These journalists are all over-weight. They have expensive bikes in their garage but are incapable of hard training, of making great sacrifices and so they must tear down my efforts. If they sacrificed for their own craft, they would be famous instead of making fun of me or reviewing brake levers. It saddens me. I am not bizarre or suicidal like my friend Rasmussen the Chicken but still there are tears. I must never leave the house without Kleenex.
It is common knowledge in the peloton that most cycling journalists are alcoholics — some are even dependent on drugs to help them deal with lack of adulation. Am I to blame for their anonymity? When all they ask me are questions about doping, should I ask them why their faces are bloated and red and why they drank those three bottles of wine the night before?
I have ridden many miles, had my massage, gone to bed early. Why should unhealthy people with no other skill than writing — which is just a step up from spelling — be allowed to judge me or any cyclists? I am just being honest. When the sick pass judgement on the fit, something is terribly wrong.
The past is the past. When I look at the calendar, I see days moving forward one by one. Human beings must live in the future otherwise we are a backward people, like apes without bicycles. I hope this makes sense and perhaps my pain makes it difficult to form correct thoughts. In my suffering, I ramble.
Should I grill journalists about an article they wrote two or three years ago that was riddled with errors? Should I never let them forget the junk they wrote for some women’s journal or that trash they penned for an in-flight airline magazine? No, the Cobra crawls on higher ground.
They say I am not a good father, these journalists. They make ugly personal attacks about my private life, my relationship with Vania and my young son. It is no surprise that many of these writers have broken marriages and have difficulty with long term relationships. Instead of facing up to their own family obligations, they take their failures out on me.
They travel as much as we riders do and that is hard on loved ones. I have already mentioned their drinking which leads to irrational behavior and lack of self control. I see them chase after hotel maids and hustle the hostess girls at the races but I say nothing, turn a blind eye. Can they not extend the same courtesy? I have spoken to Vino about this and he agrees in full.
I make history, I create drama with my strength and courage. I am the story but they are jealous so they take my story away or try to change it into something negative and ugly. They are the egotists who must always manipulate events to suit their own petty agendas. They hate the world, they prefer darkness — they sit at a computer inside a room when I am out in the fresh air and sunshine, the mountains.
How many times have they been tested? Maybe for a physical once every 10 years. Me, I am tested night and day, my blood, my urine, they take hair samples, toe nails, they scrape my tongue, anything they can get their hands on. I am clean as a whistle. If you have ever spent time with a journalist you know they are sloppy people with STD’s, bad breath and wrinkled clothing that is poorly tailored. These facts are unassailable — ask Rebellin or Schumacher.
I love cycling, it is my life, and I have given my heart and soul and body. Can journalists say the same? One week they write of cycling, the next ice dancing or bowling or snowboarding. There is no loyalty. I would never hurt the thing I love, but that is their sport — to hurt people, to slander them and cause suffering. I do not understand why people do not see this. Neither does Di Luca who is so sad and depressed he cuts his own hair over the bathroom sink.
You have heard the truth now, I have set the record straight. I will suffer their slings and arrows but my conscience is clear, my legs strong. The Giro is not the Giro without me. I simply ask that you judge me with fairness and not listen to vengeful typists.
Yours, the Cobra.