Nibali interview

Nibali etna

A short thing, no big deal but I missed Eugenio Capodacqua’s interview with Vincenzo Nibali in La Repubblica from last September.

The journalist brings up the subject of doping and Nibali explains the influence of his family. His father would drive him around Italy to take part in races, often sleeping overnight in their small car and later his parents sacrificed a lot of money to pay for him to move from Sicily to Tuscany in order to race at a higher level. Reflecting on this, Nibali said:

I’d feel like a worm to betray the trust of my father. I wouldn’t be able to face my parents. If you have the right qualities and the will to make sacrifices, you don’t need anything else.

Now the cynics around, including myself, might say words come cheap. But invoking your family is a different method to the “I’ve never tested positive” line or even “next question please“.

Yes it’s no guarantee. But if there’s a kid out there with a poster of the Sicilian on his bedroom wall, at least there are some words to reinforce the message of doing it right. Others starting the Giro struggle to speak out.

14 thoughts on “Nibali interview”

  1. Dopers all have parents and loved ones that they disappoint and I am sure they all feel like worms when they are caught and forced to admit their deception – But don’t they feel just fine when they’re getting away with it? I think people justify deception for all sorts of reasons and my guess is doping is no different (I’m leveling the playing field, so it’s not really cheating, for example).

    Ultimately, as you said, these are just words.

    It’s nice that they are different words, but they don’t make me believe or disbelieve him any more then I did yesterday. I truly hope he’s different, but time will tell…

  2. Depending on who you hear it from the Italian with the dodgy passport varies: Ballan, Di Luca, Nibali, Cunego. I was under the impression that the Nibali option was on the table until it became clear that Murdoch was happy to pay whatever price just so long as he got Wiggins. In the minds of some, anyone who was linked with Sky and hasn’t signed is somehow a doper, regardless of the reality.

  3. haHA…I get it!!!….Nibali’s clean….that is HILARIOUS!!!….wait a sec…..because he loves his FAMILY….HAAA!…oh god, too much….TOO MUCH!!!…WAAAAhhhhhaaaaa! Just like…wait a sec…Pellizotti…..and Kreuziger…and Basso riding Zoncolan last year just as fast as he did with Riis. …but this time…..hahaha….he was clean, because…and here’s the punch line….he was training at Mapei!!!….and riding for Liquigas….clean…..Get it? GET IT?

    And that one time Nibali beat a whole team of charged up Spanish mountain monkeys…..FUNNIEST VUELTA EVER!!!..All because of the love of his family….and humble beginnings.. …and maybe a high cadence pedaling style. This is toooooooo much. Best post.

  4. I don’t want to sound too cynical but really the interview with Nibali is worth nothing in terms of his view on doping.

    Over the years people have tried to “clean” up a rider’s reputation by referring to private matters:
    No, as a cancer survivor Lance would never touck drugs.
    And as an outspoken og deeply religious guy Rebellin wouldn’t cheat.
    And no, Landis was way to much of an hillybilly-cum-menonite guy to ever think of cheating in the eyes of God and blah blah blah.

    I am not saying Nibali is a doper. But among the many murky Italians the only really stand up guy who can fully reason his stance on biochemics, is Marco Pinotti. The interview he gave with Cycle Sport about a year ago is some of the most convincing on the matter. He didn’t have to take neither his parents nor religion, his wife and kids or even fair play as his prisoners. It was just the man and his bike. And off course his lack of (absolute top) results and the process of pursuing them in a clean fashion. Needless to say, he also had the guts to speak out against a megacrook like Di Luca.

  5. It wasn’t meant to be the most meaningful post, nor anything of pertinent insight. Just a quote that I’d missed. Words do come cheap but show me the riders who condemn doping in strong words and I’ll give you a pat on the back if you can round up 10 Italian pros.

    If anything, it’s not his words it is the accompanying support from the Italian journalist and arch-cynic Eugenio Capodacqua. If you follow Italian cycling, Capodacqua’s one of the most consistent anti-doping voices in the media.

  6. Well, i am not an expert on Italy or even italian cycling,
    but one thing i know: If an Italian starts talking about his “family” and “pride”, you have to be very naive to believe a single word

    I mean, they are riding as fast as Riis did on 65%Hct; i don’t care what they do, but this kind of bullshit is just disgusting

    At least preserve some dignity and keep the lying to a minimum

  7. Even arch-cynicists like Capodacqua have an urge to restore at least a minimum of faith from time to time. If not for his own sake then for the cycling tifosis who NEVER read og buy newspapers to see one hero after another reduced to zero.

    Point is: Capodacqua made a rare choice and decided to root for the purity of Nibali who delivered what I consider a weakish and rather predictable statement of sort.

    No big deal. But I consider Nibalis stance in the same league as Cunegos hideous toy story tattoo.

  8. Murky Italians…and Spaniards, Luxembourgers, Danes, Brits, Americans, Russians, Kazaks, Czechs, Slovenians, Belgians, Dutch, Chinese…have I missed anyone? I left out the French as it appears perhaps they’ve been on the forefront of anti-doping long enough to make a real difference? I hope the rest can catch up, prodded along by WADA when needed. In some ways I wonder why cycling has not been kicked out of the Olympic movement – velodromes are expensive while road races are hard to sell tickets for, and the doping scandals just keep on coming. Maybe the “no needles” idea will make a real difference…we can only hope. Finally, if there truly is anything to all the allegations against BigTex and Co. and they bring him down as a result – could that, once-and-for-all, let potential dopers know, that no matter how clever you are or how famous you get, eventually you’ll be caught and disgraced?

  9. The larger point might be that Liquigas seems to have very little problems passing tests. But ex-riders get popped with regularity. The Italian DiscoPostalAstanaShack?

  10. Good post inrng.

    I remember a few years back Cycle Sport had an interview with Brad McGee shortly after he announced his retirement as a rider. He explained that his decision not to dope was borne less out of health concerns – because he felt that smashing yourself for hours on end in extreme conditions was not necessarily a healthy career option anyway – but more because of the way him and his brothers were brought up; he felt that he couldn’t return to Australia every off season and face his father and family if he cheated in his profession. He said it a lot better than what I’ve just written and it was something that has resonated with me ever since.

    Some families influence more than others I guess.

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