It’s not Alberto’s fault. He peed in a cup. His pee went to Germany. Some Germans found things in the pee that ought not be in pee. It was bad pee … you know … as pee goes. And so, chaos ensued.
Let us not rehash the chaos in full, but let me provide you this brief synopsis: pee>adverse analytical finding>consternation>press leak>rumors>sanctions>bureaucracy>more bureaucracy>politics (i.e. more bureaucracy)>interminable wait>proposed suspension>acquittal.
Since the acquittal, which is provisional in as much as there are still periods of appeal and counter-appeal to be slogged through, Alberto’s name has been closely associated with, depending on your viewpoint, cheating and/or justice. He has been much maligned, and also much revered.
But Alberto and his pee, such as they are, aren’t really that important to the story. They are only the messenger.
The story is really about everything that’s wrong with professional cycling. The truth is that some professional cyclists take prohibited drugs to improve their performances. The system in place to stop them from doing that doesn’t work very well. The authorities charged with enforcing the rules are incompetent or complicit. Interests are conflicted. The federations, teams, sponsors and riders can’t get together on solutions. Enforcement varies wildly depending on the country you happen to be from. The processes are slow, plodding and interminable. Even the semblance of fairness does not exist.
This is the story. It is a sad one. It’ll even make you angry, if you let it. This story will go on and on and on. Like a classic Russian novel, the names of the characters will change. Allegiances will shift. Alliances will form and break. All the foibles and failings of this human species will find expression at some point. Count on it.
Right now, Alberto is only the messenger. He is just one character for better AND for worse. Don’t shoot him. It won’t help anyone.
Image: John Pierce, Photosport International