It seems in vogue to let riders testify behind closed doors about their doping sins. While I can understand the benefits during an active investigation, I fail to see how it helps anybody but the rider after that.
We’ll see what happens eventually in the USADA case and if all the statements will become public, but for now let’s use Basso as an example. Here is what he told cyclingnews.com recently:
Asked directly who put him in contact with Fuentes, and whether it was Riis, he said: ‘I told the Italian Olympic Committee how I contacted Fuentes, and I told the truth. A person of 27 or 28 years of age can find things out for himself…”
No, you can’t find out things for yourself when you’re looking for help with blood transfusions – it’s not in the Yellow Pages. And no, you can’t find out things for yourself if you’re known as a pro rider who needs to consult an agent or manager for even the simplest tasks.
But isn’t that handy, the secret statements come to the rescue. He’s already told everything behind closed doors, so we should shower him with gifts and not bother him with pesky questions.
Even if he didn’t say a word to CONI, we can’t prove what happened behind closed doors, allowing riders to simply keep on lying to fans like they always have.
How do I know he wasn’t completely open to CONI? Well, there are three indications:
- He got a 2 year ban, so no reduction for being helpful.
- Nobody seems to have been charged after Basso’s statements to CONI
- His own lawyer confirmed Basso didn’t name any names.
As always, Basso wants to have it both ways. Just like he merely “attempted to dope” without ever succeeding, just like he only extracted blood from his body without ever putting it back in, he now wants his colleagues to believe he didn’t name any names and his fans to believe that he was completely forthcoming with CONI.
Unfortunately for Basso, while he may not have changed in the past ten years, the fans’ appetite for fairytales has.