What does a positive A sample really mean? Nothing. All riders immediately proclaim innocence. It’s a knee jerk thing.
When the positive B sample comes back, most athletes continue to deny the evidence. The explanation is always that the lab is at fault, bumbling some obscure protocol.
Other riders simply snarl and foam at the mouth and invent bizarre conspiracy theories. Our question is, how many positive drug test results would it take before a rider tells the truth.
Let’s take the sad case of Danilo di Luca (LPR Brakes) and his positive A & B samples. We can easily imagine the following scenario:
Positive C result. “I’m not guilty, look how they persecute me by doing three tests. Three is a crowd, I say.”
Positive D result. “My lawyers will show no mercy. They defend pathetic criminals all the time. Not that I am one.”
Positive E result. “I dispute these results. That lab couldn’t test for sugar in a candy bar.”
Positive F result. “This is an insult to my Italian manhood. That is why the test results are inaccurate. You cannot measure a man such as I.”
Positive G result. “They will never break me like they did Pantani. I am innocent, just as he was.”
Positive H result. “I did not take CERA. I might have taken SARAH Lee, but that is a cake.”
Positive I result. “My lawyers are suing the UCI, WADA, CONI and every other acronym they can find.
Positive J result. “I am the victim of a conspiracy. Someone must have dumped that CERA in my Bolognese sauce when I wasn’t looking.”
Positive K result. “L stands for Lies. My fans know the truth even though they’re deaf and blind and immune to scientific fact. The Tifose stand behind me.”
Positive L result. “One of the lab technicians was wearing an off-white lab coat instead of a white one. A clear violation of testing protocol.”
Positive M result. “This is a CIA plot to defame me. Or it’s the Russians. Maybe the Chinese. I cannot explain why.”
Positive N result. “My conscience is clear. An overwhelming body of factual evidence means nothing compared to my word.”
Positive O result. “My samples were tested in France. They hate Italians — ever since the wars of 1551 with Henry the Second. Don’t ask me how I know this stuff.
Positive P result. “I am like Ghandi. The people love me. They understand that I must suffer because I am a saint.”
Positive Q result. “I will spend every last lira to defend my reputation. Actually, I did just spend my last lira. Perhaps Floyd Landis will loan me money.”
Positive R result. “Ha, they think they can wear me down with their relentless alphabetical attacks. I will win this battle.”
Positive S result. “I will never stop repeating the truth in the face of their lies. I plug my ears, I close my eyes, I am an angry 6 year old.”
Positive T result. “I have suffered under this stress. Look, I have a gray hair. But I still have my integrity.
Positive U result. “They call me “the Killer.” I will kill them all. I would rather go to prison for murder than listen to these unfounded lies.”
Positive V result. “They cannot touch me. I have moved to Iceland. I hate cycling. I am taking up dog sledding.”
Positive W result. “I am innocent. I will repeat this a million times until people forget puny things like evidence.”
Positive X result. “A conscience? A moral code? Ethics? I do not need these things. That is why I am so light on my bike.”
Positive Y result. “Y? This is what I ask myself? Why, why, why? What is a test? Is this life? Is this meaning? Is it love? I have become a philosopher.”
Positive Z result. “You see? I have won. They are out of letters and I am still here, innocent and honest. I will see you after my two year suspension. I hate you all.”