The Redemption of Ivan Basso: yep, it's not been two seconds since Ivan Basso appeared before CONI and confessed to doping in the Op Puerto affair and already, the PR whoring has begun. No sooner had the news popped than he was already joining erstwhile dopehead David Millar on the path to sainthood, having shown, according to his lawyer Massimo Martelli, "great character" despite "shaking" in fear as he humbly knelt before CONI of his own volition, desperately needing to "lift the weight off his conscience" to confess his soul-scorching misdeeds. And next for Ivan, with his presumptive two-year ban (which L'Equipe muckrakingly speculated was being knocked down in exchange for his admission, which immediately sent Pat "Dick" McQuaid postal) nearly in hand? Why, he's going to "dedicate his life to the fight against doping." Anyone else hearing the blare of heavenly trumpets and mellifluous chorus of white-robed angels singing from on high as the skies open against the clouds in a pool of golden light?
Oh please, spare me the self-congratulatory faux-repentant bull@#$% wah-wah! I'm sure Ivan Basso is a sweet, kind man and true lover of the pain and beauty of cycling who would genuinely rather win clean than win dirty. And I can't begin to imagine the excruciating pressure that The Next Lance Armstrong must have felt from his handlers, teammates, directeur sportifs, family, friends, hero-hungry press, fanatic tifosi and, likely, own self to live up to the monster hype generated by the resultant publicity frenzy generated by his prodigious talent (though frankly, I'm not sure, given his phenomenal ability and his tendency to smoke even the most-likely-equally-hopped-up competition by significant margins, that he even needed to dope). But he clearly decided, like "I'm Saved!" media slut St. David Millar before him, that he'd rather win dirty than lose clean, and hardly expressed remorse when he was actually getting away with doping--he was damn near caught with a needle in his @#$, for God's sake! He lied when the scandal broke in '06, and still had a contract with CSC. He lied when CSC kicked him off the team, and was looking for a new contract. And, he lied when the equally-hypocritical Team Discovery handed him a cool six million euro to win the Tour, and hid behind Lance Armstrong's spandex skirts right up until the moment he "voluntarily" lost his contract. It's only when he's got nowhere else to turn that he finally 'fesses up, and while that's obviously human and even understandable--who hasn't tried to weasel out of some colossal screw-up of their own making?--it's certainly not a reason to claim the moral high ground and profess the right to lead the disgusting dopers he proudly and nobly left behind to his new and purer plane of existence. You want sympathy? Sure. Serve your time, shut your yap, and you'll be back in two years before a thrill-seeking public (me included) all too happy to forgive you, if for no other reason that it's damn sure half the peloton is still tanked on drugs even without your cheating presence, so you're hardly the only one who ought to take the fall. But til then, cut the sanctimonious self-love, and shut the hell up already!