October 4, 2006
I have been astounded by the rapid recovery of Saul Raisin since his horrible crash in the first stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe stage race April 4th. He currently is in France for some team pictures with his Credit Agricole teammates. I guess not all French teams are heartless to their American riders. (Ask Lance about Cofidis).
Saul’s partners in his recovery are the team at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta Georgia. Saul has tried to help raise awareness and funds for the catastrophic care hospital through the sale of Raisin Hell bracelets. These are similar to the LiveStrong bracelet.
Recently, Saul has posted a new product on his website, Raisin Hell socks. I think this is a great idea as many people have bracelets for a variety of causes. We always need socks and the proceeds go to a good cause. Not a bad idea.
October 4, 2006
With Ivan Basso looking as though he will walk away from Operation Puerto investigation, Bjarne Riis has modified his tone a bit. Early in the furor over the investigation, Bjarne was quoted as saying:
“I’m fighting to create a clean team, and thus a clean sport – that’s my goal. And if, even if Basso is cleared, there is even the slightest doubt remaining, there will be a cloud over the whole team and over me. That’s not good enough.”
Now, Riis is softening his rhetoric. This morning, he is quoted as saying:
“I still have regular contact with Ivan. He is still part of the team as I have a two-year contract with him. We must wait if he is cleared, but the door is still open.”
Is this cooler heads prevailing? I believe in the early days, Operation Puerto was threatening to consume the whole sport. Everyone was running to save their own hides. In order to save his team, Riis felt he needed to put Ivan Basso out on a limb on his own. This gives insight into Riis’ psyche. Ivan may be like a son, but Riis Cycling is his baby.
Now it seems Operation Puerto was more hype than substance. The Basso connection turned out to be the name of his dog, Birillo, showing up on a file. We also found out that that connection is not as solid as it sounds as Birillo is a popular kids cartoon. Therefore, there are probably a whole lot of Birillos running around Italy.
The media frenzy has done a lot of damage and very little good. It has hurt a lot of innocent people, our image, and sponsors. It also is hurting the anti-doping movement.