On this holiday season we thank Danilo di Luca. He is the gift that just keeps giving.
Since testing positive twice for the EPO variant CERA in this year’s Giro, Di Luca has been an entertaining subject.
He’s outraged, he’s defiant, he’s baffled and confused. The dashing, handsome and flamboyant Di Luca gives press conferences, running his hands through his stylish hair as he attempts to explain the inexplicable.
How could this have happened? He has proclaimed his innocence far and wide like Stefan Schumacher, Mikel Astarloza and Davide Rebellin. Somebody else was the guilty party. They’d tampered with his samples, they’d ignored the testing protocols — always the mysterious “they,” the vindictive “them,” the secretive and malicious “somebody” that had singled out di Luca for reasons unknown and sought to destroy him.
Sounds like Di Luca has been watching the whole box set of the X-files. This kind of far fetched story-telling is usually reserved for Hollywood. But then, Di Luca is a huge star in Italy and somebody is trying to kill the self-styled “Killer.”
Happy holidays everyone, Danilo di Luca has the microphone again. When hard science is against you, there’s no point in defending yourself with factual arguments. It’s time to go, megaphone please, Beyond Logic. Di Luca trotted out the time honored “conspiracy theory” once again.
“The UCI knows what it wants. In cycling, it’s always first the hammer, then an apology,” said Di Luca. “It always happens to me before Worlds – and this time the course was tailored for me.” Yes, it’s that big, bad UCI and their mean-spirited dope tests at fault.
The strength and weakness of the conspiracy theory is perfect in cycling. You can’t prove or disprove it. You can keep repeating the theory forever because having no basis in fact, lawyers and scientists can’t argue against it. And being accepted as truth by Di Luca’s fans, it becomes its own separate reality. The tifosi are immune to rational argument in the same way you’d never convince a hard core Barry Bonds fan that he’d abused the secret sauce.
“I am certain that I will race the next Giro d’Italia,” Di Luca said in August. “I’m ready to wager. I have not taken anything, and there is a possibility, without a doubt, that I will be acquitted.” It’s a natural fit, isn’t it — conspiracy theories and gambling?
The odds don’t look so hot for Di Luca since the UCI isn’t much on farcical theory. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) is recommending a three-year ban. They tacked on the extra 12 months to the standard two-year years “for aggravating circumstances.” Which means they think the Italian rider is a jerk and a habitual offender — taking into account his previous suspension in the ‘Oil for Drugs’ doping scandal.
We’re looking at The Killer On Ice. Three years and done. In the meantime, enjoy the comedy. It’s Christmas and Di Luca is in a giving mood.