Wednesday, 25 July 2007

the rasmussen affair

which this morning is the vinokourov affair and while the rasmussen affair raised the spectre of doping yet again vinokourov's actions have exposed pro cycling in all its ugliness.

with regard to rasmussen, are cycling journalists so lax that they cannot check dates before interview. rasmussen states he checked with and faxed the UCI with his whereabouts, yet the person he 'spoke' to didn't start work there for another six months. even before vinokourov rasmussen has allowed doubt over his performance and obviously isn't being honest

as for vinokourov, it staggers belief that he thought he could get away with such obvious blood doping during the Tour. that the team could be unaware is inconceivable but doubtless it's vinkourov, the rider, who will carry the can. he's let down his teammates, his fans, and particularly with the astana team, his country

both affairs have exposed the ugly fault lines within the sport and its organising bodies. questions must be asked with regard to the announcement of rasmussen's warning with regard to whereabouts. the friction between the UCI and the Tour are well known and it would seem the two are linked. the UCI should further be forced to questions with regard to their management of rider whereabouts. relying on paper mail? surely not. if british athletics can manage better than so can the UCI. also, it appears that there is a different standard for french teams. is this correct?

vinokourov's career is over, with any luck astana will cease its association with pro cycling but reliant as the teams are on sponsorship the UCI and the ASO must recognise the knock on effect on potential sponsors, esp with the likes of discovery and cofidis pulling out. similarly WADA should answer some questions as to why there's such a disparity between sports. Athletes are banned for life for missing drug tests, Rio Ferdinand gets six months, cyclists are banned for drug use and lose a years pay, NFL players get a four week suspension for a 'first offense' of steroid abuse. it seems that the weight of the penalty depends on the financial backing of the sport

on the positive side, at least vinokourov was caught and the aso had no hesitation kicking the team out. i'm looking forward to the stage tho it'll be interesting to see the crowd reaction to rasmussen who was apparently booed at the start

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