Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rasmussen as a liability

What is it, that made the team of Rabobank decide, that Rasmussen's fibs were so bad, that it was not enough to reprimand him, fine him again and keep this information under the hat. Thus, with keeping things silent for just a couple of more days, Rabobank would have a tour win for the first time in existence. Imagine what gain this means for both the team as well as the sponsor with the same name.

It seems to me, that that gain is not big enough to warrant the risk of the facts coming out at a later date. One must assume that the facts are going to come out rather sooner than later, but still a tour win is not a boost you'd pass on so lightly. Hence, the truth must be really, really bad. Therefore, if it is bad enough that Rabobank is not protecting its direct interest, but rather come out and withdraw the yellow Jersey holder from the tour, then it is absolutely terrible.

And if it is that awful, I cannot see any other follow-up than that Rasmussen is going to be sacked by Rabobank altogether. Unless it is going to mean that somehow they do know that he used doping, or something fundamental has changed. Because if he did not, it means that teams would prefer not to wait for a positive test, but even shun the suspicious rider.

The question comes to mind, how much this is over the top. I am quite sure that not so many years ago, Rabobank, or any other team for that matter, would have preferred to keep on winning the tour and protect their rider, since he has not been proved to have taken doping. It certainly shows the determination to clean up the sport, but the shift also means that tremendous power moves to allegations. It also has the makings of a witch hunt. There is the danger innocent riders will be shunned, just because of the reputation they have but do not deserve.
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