He’s so over the top that if cycling did not have Riccardo Ricco it would have to invent him.
Ricco is certifiably nuts, entertainly so as evidenced by his latest media round to spruik his freshly penned biography, ‘A Funeral in Yellow - the Confessions of the Cobra’.
Cyclingnews has excerpted a good slice of the vocal stylings of Ricco from Tuttobici, focusing on the UCI's Reform Commission, but the quote that caught my eye was this:
“Bond, James Bond,” Sean Connery uttered in the way only he could to the disgruntled Honor Blackman as she inspected her shredded tyres by the roadside of the Furka Pass.
It was a classic 007 car chase moment and pure 60’s gold, as was the film itself, Goldfinger.
Huge vistas, narrow knife edge like roads, sheer drops, and powder coated peaks surrounded Bond as he made his way over this most epic of mountain passes, the Furka Pass.
Last week was a depressing one for cycling, with the Astana fiasco representative of many of the sport's seemingly intractable problems.
It’s increasingly hard to enjoy sport at the moment, any sport, with many disciplines tainted by on and off-field racism and violence, socially disgraceful behaviour by athletes and fans, and of course doping, match fixing and institutional corruption.
These days the sport news often resembles a police blotter, with too many athletes lining up for fingerprints and mugshots, and officials disgraced.
There were five key moments that defined the 2014 road cycling scene for Al Hinds. You may or may not agree.
For those that have followed cycling this past decade, the love affair, borne in naive adulation has certainly been strained. Many fair weather fans will have turned off their televisions long by now, pulled down their L.A. posters, clipped off their Livestrong bracelets, and packed up, gone home.
But like a good marriage; read robust; others have kept on. Braving the tension of simultaneously trying to suspend, and retain our disbelief, in a sport that’s looked no less broken than ever. The railed-on have had to come to terms with the idea that the object of our affections is not what we thought, and it is, and it wasn’t; a polemic peace. Evidenced by the news of the last week, and the drips and drabs from throughout this year, nobody could rightly say the sport has truly turned a corner, or detached itself from crisis. Maybe it never will.
As the cycling world falls into its umpteenth doping crisis this year, month, day, err, hour, fuelled by fresh allegations over the advice that banned doctor Michele Ferrari did or didn’t give to nearly 40 cyclists a few moons ago, Michael Clarke, Australia’s cricket captain was injected with, well who knows what exactly, “legally” to miraculously recover from a innings-ending back injury, score a hundred, and be an all-out hero.
'Course, old Clarkey was doing all he could do, under the rules governing cricket to be fit. But, as pointed out by Garmin-Sharp professional Nathan Haas on twitter; there’s a bizarre hypocrisy inherent in sport when legal injections that quite literally bring people back from the dead (okay, more figuratively), are allowed, and lauded, and others, oh, let’s say Ben Hill, are read the riot act for mistakenly taking a low-grade supplement.. @NathanPeterHaas was thinking the same thing.
— Al Hinds (@al_hinds) December 11, 2014Which isn’t to say that the revelations coming out of Padua aren’t shocking - they are - but to bring attention to the way, as a society, we just blindly accept some performance enhancers as legitimate aids, and deny others. If you ask me, it can, and often does, seem a little arbitrary. Why do we draw a line in the sand in our minds, that differentiates between where legitimate performance enhancement ends, and cheating begins, and how?