If you needed yet another reason to support the idea of a Truth & Reconciliation Commission, that reason is Peter Luttenberger.
Today the Austrian, who rode for Rabobank in 1997 and 1998, denied allegations that he had used a blood centrifuge to check his blood values. He also insisted he never worked with team doctor Geert Leinders who is accused by Levi Leipheimer (among others) of running a Rabo doping program.
How many times this season do we want to read another story like Pete Luttenberger?Because if you don’t just let everybody come clean, then that’s what we’ll get. There will be old doping stories dredged up during Milan San Remo and Paris Roubaix and the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. The winners of those races will not be truly celebrated because half the news will be yet another depressing Luttenberger-style tale of needles and blood bags.
Get all the poison out of the system by any means necessary. It sure beats the endless trickle of bad doping news that continues to scare away sponsors. Luttenberger stories are the reason why casual fans think pro cycling is still dope-infested.
If we really want pro cycling to move past the dark Armstrong years, we need a Truth & Reconciliation approach. As any public relations expert would tell you, transparency is the only way to go in this case.
You get two choices on how you want your ugly truth delivered: painful but quick or excruciating and endless. We vote for the first method — and so do the sponsors who are barely keeping the sport alive at this point.
Peter Luttenberger stories are the slow torture that keeps cycling in critical condition. The never-ending cycle of allegation, denial, recrimination, admission. It’s like a dope-fueled Ground Hog Day where we’re forced to relive again and again the lies and deceit from the past.
There are plenty of folks who say “let’s just talk about the future” — the fingers in ears approach. It’s the same turn the head, pretend it’s not happening attitude that allowed the doping culture to run rampant.
The past just doesn’t like to shut up. The only way you put the past back in the past is hearing the stories once and for all.
It’s Truth & Reconciliation now or years and years of Peter Luttenbergers.