Zabel, O’Grady and lies that won’t lie down.
Truth & Reconciliation? Nope, more like Trickle and Recrimination.
As we’ve said before here at Twisted Spoke, the likelihood of a T&R in professional cycling died at least three months ago. The corrupt and vision-free UCI run by Pat McQuaid has no interest in solutions.
We figure in a year’s time there won’t be a single professional cyclist from the “dark” years that hasn’t been outed by a retrospective test or by the admissions of former teammates. Even if you could get the agreement to form a T&R, there will be nobody left to come forward who hasn’t already been nailed.
This week’s news has been a sad and hilarious stream of belated admissions, adjusted truths and re-evaluated reputations. Stuart O’Grady, Erik Zabel and Jens Heppner have lost jobs and lost face.
It was another lesson in how lies compound and the half life of half truths. Zabel’s comical claim of having used EPO for a few short weeks was revealed as preposterous. Make that eight years, from 1996 to 2004.
Any human being who has ever resorted to telling a big lie knows that’s not the hard part. It’s all the complicated lies you have to tell from that point on to cover up the first one. Zabel, O’Grady and Heppner could tell you all about that set of painful rationalizations.
German cycling fans are jaded enough that Zabel’s final admission is unlikely to send a shock wave through the country. However, the reaction from Australian on O’Grady has been swift and definitive. He went from cycling hero to cheat in the minds of many. The Fighting Freckle will have to fight long and hard to salvage whatever is left of his reputation.
Twisted Spoke finds it interesting that Erik Zabel has received no public support from his famous sprint pupil Mark Cavendish. Remember that it was Zabel who took Cavendish in hand and taught him how to win Milan-San Remo. The German went over every kilometer of the race course in meticulous detail using all his experience of winning La Primavera four times.
Cavendish, a visceral opponent of doping, must be caught in a moral bind. He gave Zabel a good deal of credit for helping him win Milan San Remo but in light of his stance on illegal pharmaceuticals, it’s tough for him to tweet a “hang in there, buddy.”
No Truth & Reconciliation on the horizon and it won’t ever happen. More Trickle, steady recrimination.