We cannot say that we did not expect it…
However, we even hoped that this terrible sword of Damocles was removed from the head of Andrea Iannone. A rider who may have been questionable for some of his attitudes - which in any case concern him and him alone - but he did not deserve this sentence.
We have known Andrea practically from the beginning of his career and we trust our impression and experience: he is a good guy. Sometimes he may have made choices that everyone did not like, including saying what he thinks, but we are always interested in the rider.
And we liked Iannone. For his speed, of course, but also for his irreverence taken to the limit. As Carlos Reutemann used to say: "I don’t drive racing cars, I'm a racing driver". With all that this sentence entails.
Even though the chances of seeing him on the track again are very slim, without making any reference to the case of Alex Schwazer, who admitted his guilt, we do not like this story.
And we think that the rider Andrea Iannone has been left hanging out to dry all on his own. Even worse, they shot him in the back, to make an example of him.
Of course, as men of sport we are fully aware of what a scourge doping is. And not just on a professional level. There are probably many more amateur dopers. It does not matter which discipline. They are well-known. Many sportsmen, a hell of a lot of sportsmen really, do it out of ego, to beat their own personal record or eternal friend-rival. It is not as rare as you think.
In the past, state-sponsored doping took place in East Germany, and it makes us sick to know how many athletes sacrificed their lives to try to beat teammates who used illicit drugs. But associating Andrea Iannone's case with this is blasphemy, utter madness. Whatever Iannone did he was unaware of it: no rider uses those substances for doping.
We come from an era in which before the start a lot of riders downed a 'shot'. We have seen multiple champions do it. And we also heard of cocaine use. Both on a recreational level and to move one's courage one metre further down the line.
Andrea Iannone did not use Drostanolone to increase his courage. Trust me, he always had more than enough of that.
WADA wanted to make an example of him so as not to have to deal with a precedent that could have been used in the defence of other sports. We can understand the severity. Not this severity. Not in this way. You do not kill a rider like that.