Is blackmail such a bad thing?
Helicopter pilot and head of the professional riders’ union (CPA), Gianni Bugno said that Franco Pellizotti is the victim of mail that is black.
“Pelli is paying for the war he fought and won against the UCI on the biological passport. Teams aren’t taking him because they’re afraid of blackmail,” Bugno told Gazzetta dello Sport.
Twisted Spoke says what’s so wrong about that? The war against doping is just that, a war and all weapons should be used. Sanctions, fines, suspensions, water-boarding, burying offenders up to their heads next to an ant colony, then pouring honey on their faces. Ohh, and blackmail.
In an ideal world, the UCI would be organized, aggressive and pro-active in dealing with doping in the sport of cycling. Sadly, this is not the case. You could name a dozen foul-ups just in the last year and to his credit Bugno lists quite a few — including the astonishing conflict of interest in having UCI president McQuaid’s son representing riders.
So in the absence of competence, the UCI has to settle for the last resort solution in the war against doping: blackmail.
If the UCI can’t win in court, if they bumble their way thru four years with Operacion Puerto, it they consistently mis-handle the Contador investigation, if they’re unable to protect their own biological passport program from attack, if they can’t seem to exert any influence on any cycling federation, well, then blackmail is the only tool left.
Sure, it’s petty, pathetic and unprofessional but what’s the alternative? The UCI thinks that Franco Pellizotti was doping but can’t convince or coerce the Italian Anti-doping Tribunal. Pellizotti is legally free to race while the UCI fumbles its way to the Court for Arbitration in Sport.
But in the meantime, the UCI wants Pellizotti off his race bike one way or another. That means trying to scare teams from signing the Italian climber — and the same goes for Danilo “for the kids” Di Luca.
The UCI can’t even collect all the fine money from Di Luca so in return they’re going to make life as hard as possible for him. Blackmail is about the only thing the UCI can do at this point.
The sad part, and this speaks to the low opinion of the UCI in all quarters, is that teams are less and less afraid of the governing body. The blackmail — if it actually does exist — is an obvious sign of weakness and desperation.
Bugno might be right about blackmail but wrong about the consequences. Pellizotti will find a team and so will Di Luca regardless of the UCI scare tactics.