A Belgian prosecutor will prosecute you, about 5 years after your victory in LBL, admittedly bought from fellow breakaway Alexander Kolobnev to moderate amount of 150,000 Euros. In Thai baht is that almost 6 miljoen. The evidence is clear. Another shock to the professional cycling peloton, where such practices are fully accepted. From the beginning of cycling, in 1850 or thereabouts, cycling was a professional sport that was not fought for the honor but only for the money. And that was accompanied by agreements and combines in which money always played an important role. That does not seem so special to me if you’re a professional cyclist; they ride for the money because it’s their job. Moreover, cycling is not an individual sport. It is a team sport; on your own you usually do not stand a chance. So if you’re in an escape with two other fellow riders and you can become world champion then you need the support of your fellow escapees to stay ahead, but of course you also want to beat them in the final sprint. The negotiations never last long. `The winner pays and an assenting nod from your fellow comrade is enough for an intense cooperation.
But back to the prosecutor. He is looking for attention and trying to make a success by raising this matter. And then sport, and cycling in particular, of course, is the ideal tool. I recently saw a documentary about black money in Switzerland on Belgian TV. Shocking but as far as I could see there was no reaction at all after the broadcast. That of course is the superlative of shocking. It was about the Falciani List, also known as the Lagarde List. A whistleblower at the HSBC bank in Geneva, Switzerland showed that more than one hundred thousand customers from ‘all over the World’ have had parked their black money on this bank. I hardley know how to write it but together they were good for an amount of 78 Billion Pound, that is 78.000.000.000.000,00 Pound. 1 Pound = 51.6 THB. So the total amount of black money was 40.248.000.000.000.000, 00 THB. If you realize that these are only the figures of one bank you can imagine how big the problem is in the whole world. This is the corruption of the rich people protected by the banks (the power of the money) , the police, the tax authorities and politics. And on the list, which also was sent to the Belgian government and tax authorities, are no less than 3,000 Belgians. Lawyers, accountants, construction companies, industrialists, politicians, diamond merchants and a lot of criminals. But no cyclist. So why the prosecutor aims his arrows at the cycling and in this case on Vinokourov and Kolobnev is a question for me that I cannot answer. Or is it?
Or is the prosecutor looking for populist attention and a small fake success because he knows that professional cycling is, a caricature of ‘normal society’, where a lot of good and bad things happen, but all in a fairly orderly framework. But everything that happens in cycling, especially when it comes to bad things, gets many times more attention, so is terribly magnified.
I bet that many more Belgians are aware of the charges against Vinokourov than the Lagarde List. And that there are only a few Belgians who are aware of the fact that no one of these 3000 criminal Belgians have not yet been addressed by the judiciary.
More likely is that the prosecutor realizes that he does not stand a chance to tackle these figures on the list, all of whom have committed a serious economic offense. The mere fact that no bank manager of the HSBC bank was established by the judiciary to account and will not spend years behind bars, says more than enough.
It is a pity that Vino does not straightforwardly tell that he indeed has paid Kolobnev for his help. And such kinds of things are as old as cycling itself. And that it never will change. But Vino does not. The more attention his case gets the more his image will be damaged, so that he is a criminal for the rest of his life.
Volkskrant journalist Paul Onkenhout wrote in his newspaper in 1999. “The journalist likes shit. He welcomed the red card of Kluivert, the provocations of Staelens, the discontent of Seedorf and the curious interventions of Hiddink. Each new doping scandal in the Tour is seen as a gift: copy, copy, copy.
It is logical that the journalist only wants to write in the same way about doping and other peripheral issues. “
The chief sport editor expects his cycling reporter only to write in one way about doping:
- If doping is the subject always talk about a criminal activity.
- Using doping is always objectionable.
- Doping is a bad example for the youth.
- Always advocating for a clean and fair sport.
- Doping must be fought with fire and sword.
- So one fine day the sport will be completely clean
The chief editor of the sports determines the strategy and the attitude to doping. That strategy is fixed for years. The views on doping as well. That means that the journalist consciously maintains the doping circus and does not want to break through the myth around doping. This has nothing to do with objective reporting. It is nothing more than blown up sensation-seeking rabble. That will not change in the near future because such stories are in like hot cakes and that’s why the guys from the newspaper are not going to kill their goose that lays the golden eggs.