The phrase “swan song” is a reference to an ancient belief that the Swan is completely mute during its lifetime until the moment just before it dies, when it sings one beautiful song. Swans are not actually mute during life – they produce snorts, shrill noises, grunts, and hisses – and they do not sing as they die.
Just like Valverde then. He’s made shrill noises of “injustice”, grunted instructions to his lawyers and hissed at doubters. But the Tour of Romandie could well be his last race, the Court for Arbitration in Sport is due to rule any day now and informed opinion seems to be that the court will say the evidence gathered by the Italians is sufficient to force the Spanish governing body to impose a ban on Valverde.
Lessons to learn
Should this happen I suggest three things to learn.
1. If the Spanish federation dragged its heels over Valverde, it’s not fit to administrate the sport in Spain. Covering up someone in flagrant breach of the rules is disgraceful.
2. Whilst the UCI has been unable to make the CAS act quicker, it took the Italians to launch a sneaky “raid” on Valverde’s DNA: the UCI should have been applying pressure, with WADA and the IOC, to ban Spain from the Worlds, Olympics and even IOC membership.
3. Within seconds of Valverde getting a ban the UCI needs to republish every single result of a bike race since either the DNA positive was matched or since Puerto broke in June 2006. It has to send the signal that whilst he’s been playing for time, once he’s busted his name will be erased from the history books.