Vino’s back!

Richard Pestes’s reaction was;

“I’m still aghast at the arrogance of that guy.. “

And whilst I can understand the PezMeister’s outrage, we have to take a minute to try and put ourselves inside the mind of the little Kazahk.

He has ridden as a pro since 1993; let’s ignore Astana and look at his previous teams:

  • Casino
  • Telekom/T-Mobile
  • Liberty-Seguros
He has the face of an angel.
He has the face of an angel.

There’s a common thread there; every one has been rocked by major drugs scandals.

Indeed, the T-Mobile saga is still making news.

In all of these teams, drugs were quite simply as much a part of being a pro as eating properly, getting plenty of sleep and doing the hours on the bike.

The culture of these teams is instilled into the man.

Talking of culture, Kazahkstan is not Europe, until 20 years ago it was part of what we in the West referred to as ‘The Evil Empire’ of the Soviet Union.

Since the second world war there’s been a climate of mutual distrust and fear between East and West.

The Berlin Wall may be gone, but old mindsets don’t disappear over night.

To many in the East, the “new breed of clean cyclists” we read so much about will just be a Euro publicity stunt.

A front for new, improved, undetectable substances.

In Vino’s mind, everybody will still be ‘kitting’ and the only thing he did wrong was to get caught.

His presence will grate with many, but he’ll be 37 next month; he’s not going to be around much longer – one of the last of a certain breed that the sport will be better without.

The UCI will be keeping a close eye on him – “so what, you can beat those linear tests, no problem !” I hear you say.

Tell that to Di Luca.