Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Off-Topic, but delicioso

Over at DPF, we learned of an "open letter" from Ivano Fanini to Basso, encouraging Ivan to do the right thing. The machine translation there was horrible, and hid the true glory of the rhetoric. We asked our multilinguist to take on the challenge, and he responds with the translation below, for your reading pleasure.

Marc writes,

Here's Fanini's letter in all its saccharine glory. I know you said "cut it down to the good parts," but really you need the whole damn thing to get the true effect: its breathtaking vanity, its overblown and transparently insincere flattery of Basso, coupled with scarcely veiled threats, and, as I said to you earlier, its shamelessly self-serving sub-text.
Oh, if only everyone had listened to Signore Fanini in 1996 we'd be living and cycling in the heavenly land right now. If only Marco Pantani had listened, he'd be alive and probably still racing. If only Super Mario had listened, he'd be . . . well, I don't know, maybe he'd get that elusive Tour de France invitation. And, by the way, Ivan, if you don't listen to Signore Fanini, you'll end up just like them. But if you do listen to Signore Fanini, you'll be bigger than . . . than anything. You'll be our condottiero (what a splendid, old-fashioned word--worth looking up in the English Wiki: it's not exactly what you think, and there's a great da Vinci drawing), our champion, our hero, our savior (well, cycling's savior, at least). And with luck, you'll get a light suspension and you may be able to race again one day. Or if not, it'll have been worth it anyway.

I know people are speculating about what got Basso to clam up today. I'm sure everyone was imagining horse's heads on his pillow. (I know I was.) But, having read and translated this letter, I would like to propose that this letter in itself might have been enough to convince Basso that whatever this letter says he should do, the really smart move was to go out and do the opposite.

I'd say, "Enjoy," but then I'd have to [set sarcasm=on]

Dear Ivan,

We have known each other from the time you stayed in our house in Lucca, when your former manager, Bjarne Rijs , still had a residence here, and you came to train and stay with him and also to collaborate with Dr. Luigi Cecchini. I want to remind you that before you did, I had the occasion to collaborate closely with both these men. Indeed, both of them began to take their first steps in international cycling precisely thanks to me. Rijs arrived in Italy when he was still in the Juniors, thanks to yours truly, and it was precisely my team that assisted him in the races taking place in our area, starting with the Giro della Lunigiana. The other [Cecchini] began being a sports doctor and athletic trainer with my team in 1986. It’s because I have had such broad, and so much, experience in the cycling world--all you need is to consider that almost half of the peloton (counting riders and personnel) have passed through my ranks--that I can allow myself to speak out, and, most of all, to address you. My experiences have brought me in recent years to direct my life--in this sport--in a single direction: that of the war against doping and the protection of the health of athletes 24/7.

I could explain my motive for this letter starting a long time back. However, even though it's not my nature, I will look for a way to be brief, and I will go directly to the heart of the matter. I must remind you--and the entire cycling movement---of certain events which, had they occurred, would have altered history. And very probably we would not today be faced with all these scandals, like the one in which you are personally involved, because almost surely some important laws would have been passed, and other dirty rules which are still with us would have been repealed. Of course I'm referring to the failed raid by NAS [division of the Carabinieri charged with investigating the adulteration of food and also prescription drugs] on the Giro d'Italia caravan when it was returning from Greece in 1996, and was denounced by me. If there had not been a leak, all the teams, including my own, would have been caught red handed. It would have set off the end of the world, but would surely have changed everything too. Just as Marco Pantani could have changed them if only he had listened to me--or, again, more recently as Mario Cipollini could have, or now as you can.

As far as Marco Pantani goes, on the day of his victory at Madonna di Campiglio, a few hours away from the scandal, I invited him (in an Ansa [Italian news agency] story published only by the Corriere dello Sport Stadio Saturday morning, June 5) to be the driving force in bringing the peloton into the war on doping. If, instead of torturing himself to death, he had responded to my invitation, history would have been very different, and perhaps Marco would still be with us. Unfortunately, I wasn't listened to. In fact, Marco criticized me sharply, while Mario responded that he didn't intend to take part in the campaign against doping since the only campaign he knew was the one he lived in: "I live in the country." [Cipollini was punning. In Italian the word for campaign is the same as the word for countryside.] Nevertheless, I never stopped. Even though my team was cut out of many of the most prestigious competitions, I always continued on my same path, I accepted the criticisms, the blows which no one hesitated to give me for my ideals. It was the price I had to pay (and continue to pay today) for carrying this war on. But I will never go back. My strength lies in the fact that the truth is the most important good, and is worth giving everything for.

Today, you could do the same. Like Pantani (or Cipollini) yesterday, you today have the opportunity to become the leader of this battle. At this moment, you are the only one in a position to change things, the only one who, by confessing, might save cycling. Therefore I am writing to you so that tomorrow you face CONI prosecutor Torri and you make the decision to tell him the whole truth, without being trapped by considering who will promise to save you or get you out of this situation. There are those who have done this in the past, and they complicated your situation even more. You are a champion. You have always been one, even before meeting Fuentes. Like Pantani, you had no need of doping, and if you did it, it was only to go along with the system, with business. You must speak, Ivan, because you are not the only guilty one, just as neither are all those athletes who are implicated in Operation Puerto [the only ones]. Almost the entire world cycling movement (starting with many juniors, through the amateurs, up to the professionals) is "dirty" today and guilty. I am sure that if you find the strength and courage, just as Manzano did (both in Spain and Italy), to turn over a new leaf, denouncing everything that's rotten in this [cycling] world, and if you will tell the truth, people will love you and appreciate you even more. There will be no shortage of criticism, accusations, blows--just as happened to me--but it will be worth the pain, for you will have been true, and this will give you the strength to get back up, confront whatever penalty you're given, and return stronger than before to a cycling world that perhaps thanks to your denunciations will be different, and better.

You will take away this dark cloud of doping that now has enveloped you. And everyone will know who Ivan Basso is. In this way, you will save the future of cycling and will become even more the symbol of this sport, our true champion. I hope you will decide to listen to me; and, true to the ideals of love and life, I hope this all comes out well for you--given that if you confess and collaborate you will face a suspension that will no doubt be minor--and that it comes out well for cycling, which now more than ever is in your hands.

Ivano Fanini


strbuk said...

Mama Mia!!

ciao, str

bill hue said...

And while you save the world of cycling by your confession, Ivan, remember the words of UCI President Pat McQuade, spoken characteristically, mere moments after your acknowledgments became public;
"There is no possibility of a lesser suspension. WADA rules require a minimum 2 years suspension and an additional 2 year prohibition from riding with any pro tour team".
So, while Seniore Fannini promises the reward of a minor suspension, he has no authority and he has not checked out his proposal with Mr McQuaid or Mr Pound. Whatever you do, find some motivation other this guy's letter.

hughw said...

Half the peloton -- can't Fannini name some names? Is he implicating Cipollini? Yes. Hell, Ivano, let loose with the rest. Don't put it all on Basso.