Collaboration? What collaboration?
The Italian Olympic Committee, so ruthless in pursuit of Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, rolled on Italian Danilo Di Luca, shortening his 24 month ban by 9 months. He’s free to start doping again — oops, I mean racing — as of today.
The stated reason for Di Luca’s reduced ban was his cooperation in several on-going doping investigations. Yet according to his own statement, the flashy Italian didn’t finger any cyclists or even let investigators peek at his Facebook friends list.
“I gave no names. I did it for (the good of) cycling, not to point the finger at any cyclists. I explained the methods (of doping). My decision to speak was above all to help educate the youth.” A confession is also a good for todays impressionable youth.
This generosity from CONI raises two questions. First, usually when authorities cut deals, it’s in return for naming names, not just the basics on performance enhancing drugs 101. They have that intel already. Either Di Luca is simply lying or CONI inexplicably let Di Luca off easy — more on that in a moment.
If that’s the case, then CONI will be under investigation themselves by cycling journalists and fans. The organization did the pitbull routine on Valverde but hands Di Luca a Get Out Of Jail Early card for what, exactly?
The second question is why Di Luca is even coming back at all. This was a second offense after Di Luca’s three month ban in the “Oil for Drugs” case in 2007. There should have been no deal on the table unless Di Luca had major names to hand over. Hell, they even cut his fine in half — why not detail his Ferrari, too?
Why does this guy get special treatment and a reduced ban after two violations when he’s never even confessed to his own doping? It’s a bigger mystery than the novel the Di Vinci code. Italy is looking very Spanish these days.
We should know the real story in a few months. If you read headlines about another high profile Italian cyclist nailed for doping, then Di Luca dropped a few names. If not, well, then the Killer tricked CONI.
In the interim, Twisted Spoke’s theory is that CONI found an innovative solution to a national crisis: No Italian has won a classic in two seasons. The quick fix: get Danilo Di Luca back on the road early.