The hubris of Riccardo Ricco

I honestly cannot bring myself to waste my energy on being surprised or outraged by the news that Riccardo Ricco returned a positive test result on a day when Mark Cavendish made cycling history at Le Tour:

Mark Cavendish completes Tour de France hat-trick as Riccardo Ricco tests for EPO – read more at

Ultimately the Italian’s own over-reaching arrogance that he might be able to beat the tests is to blame for his downfall. Don’t bother searching for culprits in systematic doping, teams, managers, soigneurs or any of the other diversions from the ultimate truth: the ego that made a gobby little kid, disliked by other riders, destroyed him. So much for a thrilling new generation.

I just can’t invest in all the “doping is destroying our sport” furore either. Infighting, idiocy and individual ambition are the only things destroying cycling as a professional sport. Misadministration has done far more damage to the top flight than doping.

Doping barely touches me as someone who rides a bike and enjoys the spectacle of the great bike races. They are all about the moment in which they are crystalised in my mind, not in the paperwork and archives that follow them. The moment when a climber jumps away will always thrill, as will the brute power of the sprint.

And as Ricco’s fall will pass into history, so will Mark Cavendish’s third stage win, making him the first Great Britain rider to do so in one Tour.

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