Friday, 12 November 2010

the muse-ette mourns The Cobra

I've gotten a few good posting opportunities over the last year or so from my good friend Ricardo Ricco, aka The Cobra. Imagine my shock then today to read that my favourite snake is no longer with us.

In an interview with Cycling News reporter, Daniel Friebe, Ricco announced to the world that The Cobra is dead. In his place we can expect a new, humble, honest, clean, cuddly Ricco. Maybe we should call him The Bunny Rabbit from now on.

According to the man himself he's turned over a new leaf. No longer will he be the aggressive, venomous, self centred cheat we all came to know and love. Now he's going to be a friendly, diplomatic, tolerant, all round good guy.

Do I believe him? Don't be silly! Of course not.

This is a guy who has shown us that there is no ethical limit he is not prepared to breach to get one over on his rivals. He has doped, he has lied, he has ridden roughshod over team-mates and, worst of all, he has abandoned his baby to avoid the taint of a doping case. Add to that the fact that the Italian police are investigating virtually his whole extended family as a doping ring.

We're all used to seeing witnesses credibility being questioned in TV courtroom dramas. What a field day they'd have with this guy. Credibility, what credibility?

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the story is the recent connection between Aldo Sassi and Ricco. Sassi is coach to several top riders, including Evans, Cunego and, recently, Basso. He has always insisted that he will not work with dopers. He has however said that he is happy to work with those committed to reforming themselves. Hence the Basso relationship.

Why would he want to risk his reputation on Ricco? Given Ricco's track record you'd have to think he's setting himself up for a fall. But here's the catch, Sassi has terminal cancer. He isn't expected to live past mid next year. My theory is that either he's not the saint he says he is but now has nothing to lose or he's taking a last gamble on the big one. What better legacy than being the man who reformed the unreformable.

How tragic will it be then that a man will die and have his memory inevitably tainted, either by Ricco's next fall or by posthumous evidence he's not been as innocent as he's always claimed.

I hope I'm wrong.

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