The term “Omerta” is known as the silence of the mob. Don’t rat. Until recently, the term has only been used in connection with the mafia. Recently, though, Omerta has come to be identified with cycling’s collective silence on the problem of doping. Attached to the term in its original usage was an odd sense of honor and integrity, a captain-goes-down-with-the-ship mentality. If caught, you defended yourself without implicating anyone else and if convicted, you did your time … quietly. Plea deals were for drunks, not gangsters.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we present Ivan Basso, Mister “I was only researching the possibility of doping, but didn’t actually dope just yet.” If you want to be an honorable louse, this is how it is done. He will tell nothing of what he might know, only of his involvement in what he says was yet to become doping. Lest anyone think his admission is a step in the right direction, this is Omerta at its classic best. He has copped to only what they have irrefutable proof of. This isn’t a light bulb in the darkness but a flashlight pointed the wrong way–after the Giro victory was on the books.
Should anyone think his admission will help turn the tide against doping, what he has done, in fact, is teach his brethren a sort of low-impact plea. His statements were to full disclosure what the Toyota Prius is to a carbon footprint. Frankly, his behavior stands in stark contrast to what are now the typical displays of mob togetherness as seen in trials such as John Gotti’s and on the Sopranos: “If I’m going, you’re going too.” Should we actually praise Basso for his amazing integrity? Not if we want a dope-free sport.
This entry was written out of love, frustration and a desire to see some clean, healthy competition in the PRO peloton. Thanks to Padraig for this great contribution.