Contador’s lack of friends

Friday, 1 October 2010

Just a brief point. Obviously Alberto Contador’s reputation is on the line, or more appropriately at steak. In situations like this, goodwill matters. You need support, friends, luck and the benefit of doubt. The Spaniard might have the backing of his national federation, after all they stood by Alejandro Valverde for way too long. Only Contador’s might struggle with sections of the media.

When Operation Puerto blew up, none of his blood was found stored in Dr Eufemiano Fuentes clinic but this isn’t the same as being cleared. Instead, his name was all over the notes of the doctor. Here’s one exerpt:

A.C. / Dodgy?

The last initials are A.C. and it doesn’t take Lieutenant Colombo to work out who this is. Similarly, A.D., allegedly Alan Davis, doesn’t seem to have had any blood stored but there’s a full program of EPO and steroid planned. Now a third party writing notes about your future isn’t enough to incriminate… but ask yourself, if Puerto had never happened, do you think A.C., A.D. and all the others would have ridden totally clean that year?

Yet rather than explain this, Contador has repeatedly ducked the matter. Press conferences where he’s put on the spot see him often sidestep with a siguiente pregunta, or “next question”. Now there have been examples where he’s been put on the spot and answered but in general, his reticence here means journalists often have him marked out as prickly. They want to put questions but his lack of cooperation has probably lost him a few friends.

OK lads, the first guy home gets a juicy steak

Another reason behind the doubt is Contador’s relatively secret training. I’ve written about this before but nobody really knows how Contador trains and what coach Pepe Marti (pictured) does with Contador. Marti is Contador’s personal coach and is moving to Saxo Bank. Again the lack of openness only burns more bridges in an age when others are at pains to play the PR game of transparency.


Conclusion
Contador needs all the friends he can get. Yes it’s unfair that his unwillingness to turn supergrass on Puerto means some don’t back him, yes it’s unfair that training in private creates a small vacuum that gets filled by question marks.

Nice guys and idiots alike get caught doping, whether you work with the media or not isn’t a test of guilt. It’s just that the media are not impassive actors, they help form opinion and some sections simply won’t go the extra mile to help him.

2nd Photo: cyclingnews.com

TdF Lanterne Rouge Blog October 1, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Speaking of "no friends", I wonder how that Chinese labor camp is working out for former Team Radio Shack rider Fuyu Li, banned 2 years with clenbuterol levels similar to Contador's.

Or rather, whenever he crawls out from under the bus….

TheInnerRing October 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Yes, Li's case is a footnote to this – nobody gave him the time of day: Little guy + Bruyneel rider = goodbye.

Unfair perhaps but that's exactly what I'm saying. Some already have cynical opinions of Contador and this doesn't help him.

Anonymous October 1, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Nada = "Nothing" (?)

TheInnerRing October 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Yes, nada means nothing. In the case above it says "nothing or equal to JJ" (Jörg Jaksche) but this is on one document about specific treatment. Others allegedly specify "preparation" plans for the team as a whole.

He could never have taken a vitamin pill. But in ducking this, like I say, some sections of the media aren't too happy with him.

Anonymous October 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Is that a real doc from Puerto? Where does it come from?

TheInnerRing October 1, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Anonymous, it's from the Spanish media and yes, it's meant to be a photocopy of the notes found in the Madrid clinic. It's the handwriting of Fuentes or a colleague.

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