I support the anti-doping effort. It isn’t easy on any side. I can understand the difficulty between the professional cyclists, race promoters and cycling organizations.
There is some truth to accusations that this is killing the sport. If the drug users, suppliers or testers are to blame is a question of one’s perspective. Drug users blame the suppliers and testing, the testers blame the users, the suppliers don’t say anything because they’re running the teams.
There. I said it.
Take a look at baseball. It is a sport I do not follow, but even the layman such as myself is well aware that Barry Bonds is poised to break the Home Run Record of 755 set by Hank Aaron in 1974. He is now at 754, one homer away from matching the record. For reasons I do not fully understand people such as Chris Ivy say, “The all-time home run record is the most hallowed record in all of American sports.”
Regardless of whether I watch the sport or not, this is a very big deal in baseball.
How is baseball going to handle it? There is little doubt that Bonds has used performance enhancing drugs in his career. The kind of people at the helm of Professional Cycling these days would kick a sportsman like Bonds to the curb, suspend him, bench him, ban him. Not let him play. Remove the possibility that he ever hits that 755th home run. Preserve Hank Aarons record, and show the world that drug use in Baseball will not be tolerated, condoned or rewarded. Especially when it comes to “the most hallowed record” of them all.
I think instead of mourning the Death of Cycling, we should look at the very real upside to the efforts of the anti-doping crusaders. It took balls to throw people out of the Tour. It took balls for Rabobank to tank their chance for a Dutch win.
It is, however, a decision which Rasmussen is struggling to comprehend. “Since the day I was excluded, and for the rest of my life, I will wake up in the morning and remember that I didn’t win the Tour de France because I was wrongfully excluded from the race,” he said. “Maybe you can compare it to having a Picasso painting stolen.
“I was on my way to achieving the greatest thing I am capable of,” he continued, ” and it was taken from me.”
Rasmussen doesn’t understand exactly how, or why, his situation has landed him mourning what could have been, and almost was, in Italy when he feels he should be celebrating in France. He’s questioned the releasing of sensitive information relating to his whereabouts schedule, he’s questioned the timing of the information’s release, he’s questioned the Denmark authority’s role in everything, and he can’t understand why Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme would applaud Rabobank for firing him, when Rasmussen believes he’s not done anything wrong.
He can question things all he wants. And, I imagine, his lawyers will do the same. We’ll have to wait and see how it shakes out. We’ve been waiting a year on The Floyd Landis Decision already. At this rate, The Rasmussen Debacle will get sorted out just after the last stage of next year’s event.
As for the concerns that due process was not followed (whatever that means exactly in European sporting law applications) and Rasmussen was ejected without solid evidence (such as a failed, or non-negative, drug test) against him; I can’t imagine a race director would arbitrarily throw out a racer, or an entire team, in order to affect the race outcome, and not because of an infringement of the rules on the part of that racer or team.
“It is highly reprehensible that a race director feels that he has the right to kick riders out of the competition and ‘choose’ the winner himself,” responded Rasmussen when asked about ASO pressuring Rabobank into its decision. “Meaning, if he wanted to, he could attack Contador, attack Evans and … so maybe a Frenchman could be on the podium…”
If nothing else, Rasmussen is certain of one thing: “I am pretty convinced it’s not the best rider who won the Tour de France this year,” he declared.
It certainly could happen, but I would be very surprised. I believe people like the Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme are doing what they feel they have to in order to protect the integrity of the event.
And choosing the winner himself certainly isn’t protecting the integrity of the event in any way, shape, or form.
It may be a matter of semantics, but as I understand it, Rabobank suspended (or fired) Rasmussen. It was not the Tour that kicked him out. Of course, the Tour may well have laid it out on the table to Rabobank as such: It is him alone or all of you.
Faced with being the team that was kicked out, or the team which suspended the Yellow Jersey in a show of solidarity and zero tolerance and the high road, Rabobank did what they had to. And, yes, I’m guessing on all of that.
Source Article: cyclingnews.comby