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TdF - The System Is Working

There has been yet another dismissal at the Tour today.

Danish rider Michael Rasmussen of the Rabobank team was kicked off his team for lying about his whereabouts in June when his country's cycling federation was trying to find him for an out-of-competition test. He had previously said that he was in Mexico from June 4 to 26, but former professional racer Davide Cassini stated that he had seen Rasmussen training in the Dolomites on June 13th & 14th. Rabobank team management confronted Rasmussen with the information and he confessed. Just be be clear, he has never been caught doping. The dismissal was for lying about where he was and avoiding testing.

Today's stage of the Tour starts with no one wearing the yellow jersey.

As I stated in the title of this entry, the system to catch dopers seems to be working, but the fact remains that high-profile racers that know that they are going to be under intense scrutiny continue to dope and to try and evade controls. It makes one wonder about the mental state of these people. On one hand, it is a truly selfish and an incredibly short term view of the situation. On another hand, anyone who is a professional racer should have been able to take a look around them, see the focus that was being put on it being a clean race this year and realize that if they win a stage, they are definitely going to be tested. They are taking a risk of bringing down the entire cycling profession for their own immediate glory. Some of these cyclists may receive 2 year suspensions and not have a Pro Tour to come back to.

I think Tom Boonen is right on the mark when he calls for lifetime suspensions for those caught. I'd add that they should take their salary and any winnings for the current season. Finally, while the teams definitely need to be the first and foremost stand against doping, testing needs to take place across the board. Pro Tour licenses should be issued by one organization at an international level; submitting yourself for regular and random testing should be a job requirement for everyone.

I'm curious whether the expensive part of testing is the administrative part (tracking the riders, finding them, taking samples and transporting them to labs) or the actual test itself. If the actual tests are so expensive, maybe they could increase the number of samples taken and perform the actual tests on a random basis. Would this give riders enough fear that they could be found to be positive or would they continue to take the chance that they may not?

  • In other news today, the Predictor-Lotto team has stated that they are going to sue Alexandre Vinokourov and the Astana team for 10 million euros to recover lost publicity they would have received from Cadel Evans winning Saturday's time trial. Hmm. Okay, I understand where they are coming from here, but if Vino had not already laid down the winning time, would Cadel have pushed himself as hard as he did to take second?

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