Oh, I've Got An Otra Pregunta for you, Buddy…

Jul 23 2009

otra-contadorI’ve know you don’t wanna answer those pesky questions about drugs, Alberto, but in all seriousness—are you high right now?

You’d have to be stoned out of your skinny Spanish gourd to simply stonewall some very reasonable questions a day after word broke that DiLuca turned up positive for CERA twice during his Giro campaign this year.

It’s not like the graphics (point of order: Riis was never “caught” doping) are anywhere near definitive. As much as I appreciate and enjoy the effort of the dudes over at The Science of Sports, there are way too many variables at play to effectively compare times between years, or ascending rates between climbs.

Heck, all you have to do, Alberto, is read their stinking page (en español); they list many “confounders”, like wind, climb length, and race situation. Allow me to add to that strength of field and equipment, since wind-cheating frames and ultralight rims are now de rigeur down the lowliest domestiques at the TdF, and a good portion of Contador’s Verbier ascent happened in the draft of well-above-threshold efforts from Jens Voigt and Chris Anker Sørenson.

But otra pregunta? Like you don’t even care? You don’t have to go all “not worth the chair you’re sitting on” [.mp3], but at least act like it would be bad thing if you were doping. You know why people like riders like Fabian Cancellara? It’s because between his many, many ridiculous moments of Superman accomplishments, he has definite patches of being human. He struggles, and he cares about things.

Cance’s classics season was a flop this year. He dropped out of the Tour of Cali. Recently, he worked himself into a multi-lingual rage when things didn’t go his way, and he needed to have a beer to just chill himself out. And afterwards, Cancellara will almost certainly be able to put it all in perspective with enough class to make us all feel guilty about every training ride we ever cut short.

3749664477_0324554ea6Alberto, 99.5 is a friggin’ high VO2 max—but it’s by no means impossible. Bjørn Daehlie once clocked in at 96, and that was during the off-season. Considering it’s a function of weight, and you’re 20 days into a freakin’ Grand Tour, it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that you’re rocking those numbers.

So own it. Say something like, “yeah, it’s hard to compare results from the lab to results on the road, but my past test results have shown I could potentially be in that range”. It doesn’t even have to be true—you’ve always been special and people will at least respect you for being forthcoming.

But this otra pregunta business—jeez, it’s like Gary Hart daring the media to follow him. The Brits are pugnacious about chasing this doping thing, and they write—more or less—in the same language spoken by the millions of Americans buying your Trek and Nike schwag. You could have at least eased off in the time trial—barring an unlikely collapse on Ventoux, you’ve got the jersey wrapped up.

In case you couldn’t tell from the timing of the Team Radio Shack announcement, or the not-so-flattering words of your director, you aren’t the most popular guy around at the moment. So help yourself out a little and warm up to the people and the press. If you are doping, it won’t make you any less guilty, but as Tyler Hamilton can attest, it might make things a little easier when the boom does finally drop.

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