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.
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