An open letter to Iván Gutiérrez

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Following Iván Gutiérrez’s letter, printed in many places, I feel like having a word with the Spaniard. So here’s a letter addressed to him.

Dear Ivan,

I read your letter in defence of Alejandro Valverde and have to say I’m quite surprised. You seem trapped in a bubble, unaware of the world outside cycling.

Alejandro Valverde’s case is the greatest injustice I met in all my life. Alejandro is a champion to whom the right to race will be denied. And if I tell you the truth neither I nor the majority of us know why.

If you don’t know why, let me tell you: Valverde’s DNA was found in a blood bag inside a freezer in a Madrid gynacology clinic. Now perhaps you think this is normal, saving your blood for special days? But I’ll remind you, it is against the rules.

Let me tell you about bigger injustices. First, faced with sort of the organised cheating employed by your team mate, some riders have been pressured into risking their health too, simply to keep up. Second, fans have been fooled, performances have been dictated not by talent and tactics alone, but by pharmacists and “doctors” like Eufamio Fuentes.

Alejandro Valverde is the most talented riders, with real natural talent, I have ever seen in my 31-year-old life. I dare say his talent is unique.

Perhaps he is very talented but why was he storing blood? The blood also contained traces of EPO. Now Alejandro may be the most talented rider around, but why did he need EPO?

Alejandro Valverde is a rider who never had abnormal values in an anti-doping control and he is for sure the rider who underwent the greatest number of controls considering the fact he climbs on the podium in almost all the races he participates in

Now you are making a fool of yourself here Iván. We can both list riders who were never caught in doping controls despite numerous tests, only to get caught by the police. Richard Virenque, Ivan Basso, Bjarne Riis, I could name many more and now Valverde joins the long list. Sadly the controls only catch the careless and the stupid.

I call on all the sporting authorities… S.O.S… Cycling is dying… Help us. Now.

Well you certainly need help: it’s people like you making excuses for doping who are harming the sport. The repetition of scandal is because of the cheats you defend, not because of the testing nor the media. You’ve shared in the millions earned by Valverde, your only shot at credibility is to condemn doping in all its forms. You and your colleagues must end the denial. Join with other riders who condemn the cheats.

Yours,
Matt

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{ 2 comments }

Duncan June 2, 2010 at 10:51 am

Well said. I can imagine some riders thinking it is not fair that Valv gets caught when others do not but an open letter, it only makes you wonder whether Gutierrez thinks doping is normal.

Alex Murray June 2, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Wholehearted agree with you.

As far as I'm concerned an honest, open and transparent rider has and will always been given credibility by the media. Any rider who seeks to conceal or obfuscate should always be treated with skepticism, as that is the right of good journalism.

I was thinking last night that while I'm happy to believe the word of Aldo Sassi on Ivan Basso's performance at the Giro as credible, I'm still skeptical of Basso's own account of his actions that led to his ban. I think that illustrates the obligation and position of cycling journalism.

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