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"Goodbye world" tweet triggers massive rally-round for suspended Giro stage winner...

Late last night Vini Fantini rider Mauro Santambrogio, currently serving a provisional suspension after a non-negative A-sample test for EPO during the Giro, broke a months’ long Twitter silence to send a chilling two-word message: “Goodbye world”.

Minutes later he responded to Bicisport journalist Enzo Vicennati: “I can’t take it any more.”

Alarmed, and no doubt aware of the psychological problems some athletes have historically suffered, Italian journalist Alessandra De Stefano tried to get in touch with Santambrogio by phone.

He wasn’t answering, but De Stefano eventually got a response by text.

Meanwhile Santambrogio was deluged with messages of support and good wishes via Twitter. Supporters from all over Italy and the world encouraged him to be strong and not to do anything to harm himself.

After a couple of hours, he tweeted: “I have to do it and I will do it to win this race. Thank you.”

The messages continued through the night as word spread that Santmbrogio was, in the words of Alessandra De Stefano “a man alone in the dark”.

This morning, Santambrogio tweeted:  “I closed my eyes, I thought about everything I almost did an idiotic thing and I think I would have solved nothing at all, but only brought so much suffering to those around me and who love me.”

“I thank you all for helping me to reflect and saving me.”

Mauro Santambrogio won stage 14 of this year’s Giro d’Italia in dramatic style, attacking with race leader  Vincenzo Nibali in appalling weather conditions. However, his A sample from stage one returned a non-negative finding for EPO and he was provisionally disqualified from the race and sacked by his team.

Santambrogio requested a B-sample analysis. The result has not been officially announced but in early September, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the B-sample analysis showed a lower level of EPO traces than is necessary to conclusively prove doping. If that’s the case, it would clear Santambrogio and he would be free to race again.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

22 comments

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Marky Legs [124 posts] 2 years ago
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Why does it take so long to test the B sample... it's a rider's future at stake if the A sample is abnormal but the B sample is okay.
This guy suffered in a way that he shouldn't have, his team are to blame just as much as the doping agency!!!!
They should have stood by him until the B sample results were known.

Testing the B sample within a day of the A sample, and NOT announcing the results of the A sample would solve this problem immediately.

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ch [186 posts] 2 years ago
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Awesome strategy. “I have to do it and I will do it to win this race. Thank you.” Do what? The mind boggles at the potential meanings. Dope? Post public suicide threats?

I hope Lance doesn't catch wind of this ploy or we'll all be biting our fingernails till they bleed .

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usedtobefaster [171 posts] 2 years ago
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“I have to do it and I will do it to win this race. Thank you.”

I read this as meaning keep living and beat the psychological problem he seems to have.

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Goldfever4 [220 posts] 2 years ago
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Forget everything else, if he was close to ending his life and the response of other people to his tweet stopped him from doing so, that's a good thing and I'm pleased that at the end of the day he hasn't done it. Still a human being.

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theclaw [73 posts] 2 years ago
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Attention seeking. Somebody who wants to end their life will do so. He has no place in cycling. He's a thief, and the wind changed direction many years ago in cycling. He is not the equivalent of Pantani or VDB who arguably fell very hard on their swords when all around them were doing the same thing.

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festival [105 posts] 2 years ago
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Drama Queen!

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
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He didn't have to cheat to win races did he. Nobody forced him to take EPO or any other banned substance.

A cry for attention as others have said.

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Swindaloo [16 posts] 2 years ago
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You're right, it is a cry for attention but not for some drama or attention seeking, it's a cry for help as is very common with people suffering depression and are struggling with suicidal thoughts. Him posting on twitter his intentions doesn't make it any less real.

I hope you never have someone close to you struggle with mental health if you dismiss those signs as attention seeking.

I'm glad he's ok.

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keirik [55 posts] 2 years ago
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absolutely agree, some of the comments on here make me ashamed to be a cyclist and human being.

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edster99 [336 posts] 2 years ago
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Yes, he wants attention ... I.e. help. If he doped, that doesn't make him a good athlete. But no one ever deserves to die for it. Anyone who implies so should have a word with themselves.

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American tifosi [38 posts] 2 years ago
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It's a SPORT!!! When I think of all the young men and women that fought with all they had to hold onto life, while serving their respective countries only to lose their battle and life, I can find little sympathy for an athlete that has the world at his feet.  14

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zanf [830 posts] 2 years ago
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.....

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 2 years ago
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Mmmm. Twitter MAY have some benefit then. Good support from Users and what a result. I believe the pressure of dodgy tests must put so much psychological pressure of anyone in sport you wonder if it's all worth it.
Sadly it seems it will never go away, suppose you just have to think I'm alive and its not all over and life goes on. Life's harsh.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 2 years ago
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I have avoided reading this news article after bringing it to the attention of the road.cc crew yesterday morning.

Some of the comments totally appal me, having suffered with depression for the last 17 years, a cry for help is just that, no matter how its done.

He obviously couldn't get the support he needed in his current situation and knew that the support of random people on twitter would jump to his aid.

There is a LARGE problem in cycling, for whatever reason someone dopes, on their own, as part of the team....etc.

Once caught, they are just dropped like a stone by the team and all those cycling friends around them. There is no support network within the sport to take dopers and council them back onto the right track, even if that's not in cycling. But to adjust to "normal" life again.

I'm not saying that every doper should be given the chance to turn their lives around, I think of Ricardo Ricco and Lance Armstrong as two who shouldn't. But you can't judge every doper by those kind of people's actions.

That's all I have to say on it.

DAVE, we need to find a way of showing WHO is clicking LIKE......

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deblemund [263 posts] 2 years ago
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TBH, I would've disabled comments on this story.

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Lifer [20 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't think it occurred to the writer that people would be so callous, wouldn't have occurred to me!

Whatever his history, well done to people on twitter for not responding to him like the heroes on this page.

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Simon E [2682 posts] 2 years ago
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Swindaloo wrote:

You're right, it is a cry for attention but not for some drama or attention seeking, it's a cry for help as is very common with people suffering depression and are struggling with suicidal thoughts. Him posting on twitter his intentions doesn't make it any less real.

I hope you never have someone close to you struggle with mental health if you dismiss those signs as attention seeking.

I'm glad he's ok.

A big +1 to this.

Some of the other comments show a remarkable degree of ignorance. Let's hope you smug types never find yourselves in a similarly dark place.

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Colin Peyresourde [1719 posts] 2 years ago
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To put this in context, Santambrogio is a victim of his sport as he is a criminal. There are those of you that deny the rampant drug taking still prevalent in the sport, but the reality is that Santambrogio just had the misfortune of getting caught. You could debate the rights and wrongs he personally made leading up to his positive, but he has effectively had his life, reputation and career taken away from him. He cannot blame anyone else, and this is his punishment. However, no human being is without merit, he did not kill anyone and so we should treat his cry for help with compassion, not ignorance and hatred.
Santambrogio is no different from David Miller, Hamilton, Contador or many other pro-cyclists (caught or otherwise). They are drawn into a culture of doping within the sport. The choice becomes dope or be forced out of the sport. Most riders likely resist for as long as they can. But eventually the suspicion that they are using pea-shooters in a nuclear arms race gets the better of them. Then comes the fateful day they make 'that' decision and there is no turning back. Getting caught seems like a grave injustice because a) they know many of the other riders are doping and so it is unfair they get caught and b) the sport/culture has itself led them to that point.
I can hear people saying no one forced him to cheat, and this is true, but he is serving his punishment, but it's not intended to be a life sentence. Perhaps Santambrogio can help to find a way to clean up the sport.

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russyparkin [570 posts] 2 years ago
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some very c#nty people on here it seems. give the guy a break, its a bit of doping, not like hes gone killing people.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 2 years ago
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Poor guy. Been through the wringer a bit, hope things start brightening up for him.

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benji p [54 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

Some of the comments totally appal me, having suffered with depression for the last 17 years, a cry for help is just that, no matter how its done.

I empathize... I really do... I don't know how old you are but I know my parent's divorce and subsequent separation have affected me deeply... I hate to ask, but are your parents divorced, too?... You always seem like such a positive person on the forum, it's kind of surprising you've come out with this...

Gkam84 wrote:

DAVE, we need to find a way of showing WHO is clicking LIKE...

On another note, why would you want this? What if people want to 'like' stuff without giving away they 'liked' it? I'm ok with not knowing who 'liked' what. Why would you want to know?

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stefv [211 posts] 2 years ago
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usedtobefaster wrote:

“I have to do it and I will do it to win this race. Thank you.”

I read this as meaning keep living and beat the psychological problem he seems to have.

I read it as he had to end his life, because it was the only way he had any control over the stressful situation he was in.

A cry for help? Maybe, but I don't doubt it was sincere. If any of you have experienced mental illness, whether in yourself or a close-one, you will know what a desperate situation it can be.

If he doped, I hope he gets his appropriate ban, but I still have sympathy for someone who finds themselves in a position where they feel like they have no other option.

IMHO