After the fourth — count ’em — fourth doping case at Astana in three months, the team issued yet another statement that they were officially “shocked and disappointed by the news.”
Hmm, doesn’t the shock wear off with simple repetition?
To be generous, maybe Astana was shocked after the first doping offense and maybe surprised with the second doping offense but once we get to cases three and four should anyone be claiming “shock” at this point?
Maybe unrepentant former doper and current team manager Alexander Vinokourov isn’t shocked at all. Not the first time or the fourth time. Pissed off, maybe that he has to crawl to UCI president Cookson again and claim the team is doing everything possible to fight doping. That’s a hassle taking those flights to Aigle, Switzerland and it’s not cheap, either.
So far we have Valentin Iglinskiy and his brother, 2012 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Maxim on EPO and Ilya Davidenok and now Viktor Okishevhad testing positive for steroids. Valentin, Maxim, Ilya and Victor, you are bad boys. Who’s up next? Will Astana doper number 5 please come forward.
Keep in mind — and this is critically important — they were acting completely on their own. There is no team wide doping program at Astana and these guys are just very entrepreneurial. In doping terms, they’re self-starters.
Astana’s membership in the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) is now a hilarious punchline. We’d be kicking them out right now before it’s renamed the Movement for Cynical Cycling. Please remove good house-keeping seal.
You have to wonder at what point newly crowned Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali will decide enough is enough. Isn’t there a “stupidity” clause built into his contract? Something like, “if I’m embarrassed more than three times and my reputation sullied by these doped clowns, my contract is void.”
Nibali has a nice group of Italian support riders and staff at Astana but the man has limits. He’s famous for being tranquillo but we’ve love to hear the cell phone conversations between him and Vino over the last few weeks. Vino wrote him a nasty letter this season when he thought Nibali was under-performing.
Maybe it’s time for Nibali to write his own angry, indignant letter to Vino.