With the dust from the latest UCI doping index leak yet to settle,
Saddles couldn't believe his luck when he received a tip off from his mole at
the International Cycling Union.
The information came in the form of another colour coordinated
chronological list not entirely dissimilar to the one published so obnoxiously
by French sports broadsheet tabloid l'Equipe on Friday.
It came without any commentary - just the odd footnote - but its
significance was patently obvious to Saddles the canny investigator, who can
now share the list in its entirety with his faithful readers.
Red 5 Robbie Hunter, Lance Armstrong
Orange 4 Andreas
Kloeden, Manuel Quinziato, Nicolas Roche, Robbie McEwen, Mark Cavendish
Yellow 3 Bradley Wiggins (downgraded from Red 5), Fabian Cancellara, Greg
Green 2 Vincenzo Nibali, Roman Kreuziger, Alberto Contador (*), Carlos
Blue 1 Frank Schleck, Andy Schleck, Cadel Evans, Richie Porte, Marco
Pinotti, George Hincapie, Geraint Thomas, Christian Vande Velde
Purple 0 Ivan Basso
His pulse beating like a drum, Saddles took a few Alessandro
Petacchi inhaler-sized deep breaths before emitting a long and tuneful whistle:
this was, incontrovertibly, another list classifying riders in accordance to
their suspicious blood levels last summer.
How did Saddles know? Well, just look at the evidence and it slaps
you in the face. Armstrong has been at the top of the UCI's must-bag list for
yonks - as for Hunter, isn't his tendency to flip out and go on the defensive
an obvious knell of guilt? And look, he joined RadioShack recently too.
Definitely Red 5s, the pair of them.
We all know about Kloeden, the famous alumnus of the Freiburg
Clinic, and surely Cav's supreme sprinting skills on the back of major tooth
surgery elicits enough suspicion to warrant an Orange 5.
And what of the footnote to Wiggo's Yellow 3 category -
"downgraded from Red 5"? In the light of his superb 2009 Tour and
subsequent form reversal, surely the writing's on the wall for the British Mod.
Those asterisks next to Green 2 pair Carlos Sastre and Alberto
Contador obviously have something to do with them being from Spain. Maybe
it's a way of the UCI to put its employees on high alert - much like the way
they seemed to drop every French rider's rating in the original l'Equipe doping
index by three points (Christophe Moreau a seven, eh?).
The Schleck brothers' low Blue 1 rating is hardly a surprise given
their inability to either finish races or finish races without being tugged
along through the mountains on the coattails of other more illustrious sets of
Finally, Basso's status as a Purple 0 shows just how contrite the
Italian is since once making enquiries about hiring a Ferrari, but never
actually ever turning the keys in his ignition.
With all this red-hot doping evidence at his disposal, Saddles
began to sweat as much as a topless Johnny Hoogerland on a beach surrounded by
This could be Saddles' big break: a serious, weighty doping
exclusive - as opposed to the usual guff, hearsay and - let's be honest here -
weak pun-based humour.
You can imagine his distress then when a second email came through
moments later explaining the first. Entitled "UCI Twitter Rider
Index" the second document gave the following explanation:
After months of online monitoring, the UCI's anti-fun branch (led
by Pat McQuaid) has come up with a list of riders and classified them in
accordance to their perceived online danger threat.
Red 5 Tendency to go for the jugular and attack
followers - either with direct messages or public putdowns. Harsh language
often used, especially after a few drinks. Liberal use of imagery which can
often lead to compromising situations. Must be watched closely.
Orange 4 Highly opinionated especially in the wake of an
event. Handle with caution.
Yellow 3 Should be followed intently but primarily to
ascertain whether standards are slipping. Wiggins in particular must be
monitored to make sure his tweeting doesn't return to 2009 carefree phase.
Green 2 Not much of interest here but watch out for the
riders marked with an asterisk (*) - they have a tendency to post in both
English and Spanish so care must be taken to pick up any possibly subliminal
messages lost in translation.
Blue 1 Perfect examples of how Twitter should be used
amongst the peloton. Use these riders as a benchmark.
Purple 0 Nothing to read here. "Unfollow"
With egg on his face, Saddles slipped back to ignominy. It just
goes to show how careful you have to be with finger pointing and accusations.
They say there's no smoke without fire - but that doesn't mean, l'Equipe, that
you can strike the match.