Breaking down

He sits in front of us in a hotel room in Madrid, a broken man. He needs money, it’s obvious, and he also needs beer.

Who is he? A pro cyclist, of many, many years ago.

His girlfriend confronted him angrily: do you have a drug problem? She had looked into his refrigerator. A small one compared to what they later would call Siberia in Madrid, Siberia, the menacing cooling station managed by the doping doctor.

He sits in front of us, sad yet proud. He tells us how it was when he still had ambitions. How he used and abused medicine. How his life almost ended, his blood so slowed down by an obstacle in a race, drugged.

His career was finished, his life not quite.

When he leaves the hotel he walks into the void. You can sense an urge to shout something, to cheer him up, to tell him: Thanks for your honesty and your story, you will make it. Yet he has his beer, quickly and workmanlike, and then he leaves. There is no hope where he goes.

Taken from: Beyond the Finish Line — Philipp Hympendahl/Tim Farin