July 26, 2007
What Rabobank was both courageous and a great statement for the sport. The message to those all is that it is not just about evading detection. If you comport yourself in any way that is not in keeping with the image of the team, then you are out.
One previous weak link was the teams. Their posture was reactionary. Whatever you do on your own time is your business. If you get caught, then we will take action. Until then, nothing.
First T-Mobile then CSC put into place more aggressive measures to prevent cheating. Rabobank was the first team to take action on their own. Before the authorities get involved. They also did it with ultimate impact! This is akin to the San Francisco Giants taking out Barry Bonds right now as he gets set to break the biggest record in baseball. After all didn’t he lie about knowing the key players involved in BALCO?
Rabobank has set the standards for the remaining ProTour teams. This could be the Tipping Point.
July 26, 2007
When the 2020 edition of Trivial Pursuit comes out with the question, “Who won the 2007 Tour de France?” no one will remember. They will recall that this tour was shaken to its core by the expulsion of Vinokourov, Astana, and Rasmussen.
That will be a shame. Saturday’s time trial is shaping up to be fantastic as a little more than two minutes separate the top two riders. For Cadel Evans, this may be his only chance to win a Tour. His gritty performance has earned him this opportunity. Alberto Contador carries on his shoulders the hope of the next generation. Both of these men do not deserve to have this happen during their opportunity at greatness.
With absolutely no air left in this Tour, one might want to pack it in. I say no. This Tour is cracking on the biggest hors categorie climb it has ever faced. Like its riders, it needs to settle into its own pace and soldier on.
While you think that no one cares, take stock in the fact that you are paving the way for the sport to survive and ultimately thrive once again. The road up to that goal will not be easy. There will probably be more steep sections that will come but they too can be overcome.
July 26, 2007
Rasmussen was always the one I feared would be implicated. I continued to carry my fear throughout the tour. I shared this with a few friends and alluded to it in some posts and comments.
Having seen trial by media and not wanting to talk out of both sides of my mouth, I kept it shut. Please understand, I am not accusing Rasmussen of doping. That would be against everything I have stood for. I am saying that his actions were not at the standard we need to have if we are going to clean up the sport.
We have an expression at work and I’m sure you do as well. Not only do we have rules of misconduct but one guideline we are expected to follow is avoiding the appearance of impropriety. Rasmussen, by missing two tests and lying to his team did just that. I do not think he should be suspended by the UCI unless there is proof of impropriety. Being pulled out of the Tour on the precipice of victory should send a clear message to everyone that teams will not look the other way, nor will they allow riders to skate close to the line. This and his sacking is a penalty that should send the right signal.
We will look back on this as a turning point when the dark night began to cede to the dawn of a new day.