you have to wonder just how many self-portraits Alexandre Vinokourov has hanging on the walls of his residence – or should i say residences, given that he had such a successful career as a pro cyclist, a career which shifted into management as he took over the Astana ProTour team – cos this guy has a self-love that must at times make it difficult for him to walk in the morning.
Astana – a team he once described as ‘my baby.’ hmm, maybe that baby needs a warning sticker slapped on it, given the nature and history of its papa. Vino was, if anyone needs reminding, busted for blood doping at the 2007 Tour de France, which led to his entire Astana team being withdrawn and a 2-year suspension.
from wikipedia: “Vinokourov failed a doping control following his time trial victory. His blood had a double population of erythocites, which implied a homologous transfusion He delivered a positive for blood doping on 24 July 2007.
“Vinokourov’s B sample came back positive a few days later, and Cadel Evans was declared winner of stage 13. Vinokourov was stripped of his stage 15 victory, which was awarded to Kim Kerchen. According to Phil Ligget [aka Too Ligget To Quit], long-time commentator for the Tour, “It is incomprehensible that Vinokourov could do such a thing when he must have known he was under suspicion because of his dealing with disgraced doctor Michele Ferrari in Italy. He must have known he would be tested at every opportunity, and the time trial was the perfect occasion.”
yeah, right Phil, how shocked you must have been when so many journos knew that top riders were still ‘frequenting’ Ferari’s – and other well known doping doctors’ – dens of ill-repute. what was truly shocking was that he actually got caught. no wonder he bristled with the injustice of it all!
Vino remained unrepentant about his positive, came back to the sport and went on to win gold in the road race in London last year, an Olympic victory so unpopular that its only rival is Jessie Owens and his 4 golds in Berlin in 1936, when a sour-faced Adolf Hitler watched a black man kick the arse of every one of his superior Aryans.
Vino might be beaten into third by LA and Ricardo Ricco in the stakes for top-dope-poster-boy of these sad, depressing past few years, but he can still be proud that he is indicative of all that is wrong with cycling. a former doper, unrepentant, who is managing a top team, a man who commands such allegiance in his home nation that it would be very surprising if he doesn’t become president one day, and a guy with such an uncontrollable ego that he allows a team to be named Vino4ever!
the arrogance, ignorance and plain old cheek of it are astounding.
the issue of former dopers managing teams and working in the sport is a central one in the fight against doping. it’s time to get these ol’ hombres out.