Thursday, 26 July 2007

yet more rasmussen

so rasmussen has been kicked out of the Tour. the reasons why? well they're about as clear as the 'offence' itself. a summary of the official version

vinokourov fails blood test. astana asked to leave. astana say they chose to leave.

moreni fails dope test. sponsors withdraw support and team leaves. or the team chooses to withdraw. cofidis are due to finish sponsorship at the end of the year so the whole team looking at unemployment

rasmussen doesn't fail dope test. doesn't contravene UCI rules by failing to confirm his whereabouts three times. does contravene his national organisation rules by failing to turn up another two times. both the UCI and the danish organisation fail to tell the ASO this prior to the Tour and the Danes make their announcement when rasmussen takes the yellow jersey. rasmussen holds a press conference as per last post. then the team claim that they have discovered hat when rasmussen has told them he's been in mexico he's actually been in italy. they describe this as a breach of trust and sack him. then at the ASO press conference this morning prudhomme, despite rabobank knowing about rasmussen's no-shows, defends his removal despite having contravened no rules to the extent of sanction but does point out that now, in the Tour, there is longer a presumption of innocence. UCI president pat mcquaid who only this week said there was no reason rasmussen shouldn't continue in yellow has now changed this view and applauds the decision.

firstly, the ASO and the UCI want to sort out their differences. by their actions the UCI have compromised the Tour and by implication the rest of the professional sport and not just road racing as it appears the IOC are considering the position of cycling at the olympics (in itself a sham as what have track and mtb to do with road cycling? but given their behaviour towards the kilo there should be no surprise)

secondly, if there's no presumption of innocence what is contador still doing in the Tour? there are unsubstantiated rumours of connection with operation puerto and, looking at his performance, his inability to replicate it after a rest day, surely questions must be asked. same with soler, who came back so miraculously from cracking on the aubisque yesterday that any cyclist who's had a bonk must ask how. also leipheimer. has anyone seen a performance like yesterday. am i alone in thinking of landis? plus there's the fact that they're both discovery, a team whose former members are marked by dope test failings.

coincidentally, then there's the michele ferrari connection, which includes 'innocent' riders including kloden, leipheimer and evans. watching the coverage today and already the press are hinting about contador. then i read a rumour that contador and jorg jaksche did a deal over puerto to finger other riders so that they could get away 'clean'

finally, the massive hypocrisy of the french riders. despite the spectre of virenque still hanging over french cycling, the response to moreni and cofidis, is what can the do?

so no yellow jersey today. but no statement from ASO re time bonuses, points missed because of rasmussen/vinokourov being eliminated. what a shambles. i'd rather be riding my bike.

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