The Cobra really is a snake.
If anyone should have sympathy for someone nailed for doping, you’d think it would be Riccardo Ricco — especially when that person is your girlfriend and the mother of your baby boy. You’d assume he’d be the first person to defend, comfort and protect her.
Sadly, that’s not the case. While the headlines swirl all over Italy, the disgraced climber is not at her side, helping her deal with the emotional trauma — to say nothing about a hand with the child care for a few day. This sounds like a new self-help book for women: Female cyclecross riders who love too much. I feel for the beautiful Vania with the long Italian nose.
Instead, Ricco is at his Flaminia-Bianchi training camp in Tuscany. His idea of support is to distance himself as much as possible. “What’s happened? I know as much as anyone else. I’ve been away from home for three months but now everyone will put two and two together and ask ‘Who gave it to her? I’ll be guilty again,” Ricco said.
What seems to concern him the most is not her pain but his image. “The thing that bothers me is what people will think. I didn’t need this but I can’t go and kill myself. I’m going to carry on training. It’s a strange situation but it’s nothing to do with me.
We’ll do the counter-analysis but in the meantime I’ve been splashed all over the newspapers,” said the rider coming off a 20 month suspension for the same drug.”
Top athletes tend to be self centered by nature, part of their competitive drive and focus. Still, it’s always a surprise when a star speaks with such cluelessness.
Ricco seems to have no capacity to look beyond himself or identify with anyone else’s suffering — even those he is closest to. He can pump out plenty of wattage on a climb but his empathy is zero. It’s unfortunate the UCI can’t add a six month suspension just for being a colossal jerk.
“People know I don’t like her racing, you can imagines what I think about her taking anything. Cycling isn’t for women, it hurts too much,” said the Cobra. Guilty or not, Vania Rossi deserves more from the man in her life.
Maybe that’s just a side effect of the drug. Loss of perspective and sympathy. Women often fall in love with men they think they can change. That’s their charmingly optimistic nature. Vania, pack your bags and leave the Cobra in the wicker basket of shame and delusion.