A TRIBUTE TO (and in defense of) MICHAEL RASMUSSEN



mlvernal

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Michael was on his way to fulfill a life long dream and win the yellow jersey of the Tour de France 2007. Three days before he could step up on the podium on Champs Élysées in Paris, he was fired from his team on grounds of lying about his whereabouts during his training period.

Michael was not tested positive in any of the 15 tests taken on him during the Tour 2007. When he was thrown out of the race he held a comfortable 3 minutes to second place Alberto Contador. The Tour de France 2007 was for all intents and purposes stopped prematurely.

Michael Rasmussen showed formidable form, fatigue and cunning, brilliant strategic planning and in every way he lived up to the legendary heroes of the Tour de France. To many's suprise (and apparantly dismay) he created the Tour 2007 single-handedly - of course with impressive support from his Rabobank teammates.

The decision to throw him out of the tour - three days from the podium in Champs Élysées - is not only a far cry from fair. It also represents a new moralist approach that has nothing to do with the idea that is the Tour de France: A poetic, brutal and extreme sport where rules are - if not irrelevant - then certainly secondary to the goal. As such the participants of the Tour de France are not role models to follow. As such the sport itself does not mirror the ever-changing moralities of the modern, western civilization. And as such, putting it under moral and political scrutiny says more about our society than it does about the Tour de France and indeed the participants themselves (even counting the bad apples).

It will happen again, when a tour-rider will be accused of not living up to expectations and regulations, and when heresays and rumours again will be swarming around his team and in the press. What then? Will this again be grounds on which to disqualify him from the race, fire him from his team or sanction him with even harsher means practically ruining his career (or going a long way to ensure that it is)?

The answer from a non-moralist and non-religious perspective is that this should never be the case. Indeed, I am not supporting doping. But I will remind that doping is a part of the Tour and will always be a part of extreme sports. Of course the sport should be clean. But when realizing it isn't, and when subsequently waging a new "war on drugs", it is absolutely imperative that we do not loose sight of what is important. Not the moral view of the decade. But steadfast principles as rule of law and civil rights. And of course the beauty, entertainment and downright action that is inherent in sports like the Tour de France.

So here is a tribute to Michael Rasmussen for representing the latter three. And of course a tribute to the poetry of the Tour itself. A poetry that Michael wrote so well during the tense days of the Tour 2007.

Thanks for reading!! :)

If you want to show your support there are sites out there where you can. For instance www.kyllingen.com (chicken) and the myspace profile www.myspace.com/michaelrasmussen_2007.

-mlv
 

slovakguy

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Mar 17, 2006
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while i admit that i too am disappointed in rabobank's decision to oust m. rasmussen before the conclusion of the tour, i have to state that he (like ulle before him had an opportunity to prove the blood in fuentes refrigerators wasn't his) has an opportunity to show how rash the witch hunt has become if he will only show that he was in mexico when he said he was. his actions in missing tests and showing contempt for the out of season testing protocols demand that he come forward with some substantive evidence before he can reclaim any "benefit of the doubt" from me.
 

plectrum

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Jul 26, 2007
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Tim Lamkin said:
He needs to follow the rules of the sport he loves.
Yes he agrees with you on this and has apologised but as he has stated in an exclusive interview, nothing that he did is worthy of the treatment he has received and he had already been punished by Rabobank for the warnings and cleared by Pat McQuaid to cycle in the Tour.

The missed dope tests were from the DCF and again if you read his version of events, he does not feel that he is answerable to them as he has not ridden for the Danish National team since 2004.

The other 'missed' tests were not missed tests but warnings associated with failing to update his whereabouts data with the UCI. 1 of these was a written warnign the other was a recorded warning.

The other 2 incidents about Hemopure and Whitley Richards and Italian June cyling and Cassani are allegations which have been refuted by M.Rasmussen and have no credible evidence which has so far come to light apart from the word of 2 ex cyclists.

If it turns out that Michael Rasmussen has done worse than stated above and this can be proven then further action would then be an acceptable route to take. At this point though objectively it looks very much as if he has been treated like ****.
 

wicklow200

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plectrum said:
Yes he agrees with you on this and has apologised but as he has stated in an exclusive interview, nothing that he did is worthy of the treatment he has received and he had already been punished by Rabobank for the warnings and cleared by Pat McQuaid to cycle in the Tour.

The missed dope tests were from the DCF and again if you read his version of events, he does not feel that he is answerable to them as he has not ridden for the Danish National team since 2004.

The other 'missed' tests were not missed tests but warnings associated with failing to update his whereabouts data with the UCI. 1 of these was a written warnign the other was a recorded warning.

The other 2 incidents about Hemopure and Whitley Richards and Italian June cyling and Cassani are allegations which have been refuted by M.Rasmussen and have no credible evidence which has so far come to light apart from the word of 2 ex cyclists.

If it turns out that Michael Rasmussen has done worse than stated above and this can be proven then further action would then be an acceptable route to take. At this point though objectively it looks very much as if he has been treated like ****.
Are you the Chicken?

These are all valid points and Ras does have a strong case against Rabo, only if he can show that stamp on the passport.

Forget that he missed 2 tests - he was within the limit, if not within the spirit of clean cycling.

Its like all these cuttoffs to prevent doping - they're all man made - why is the Hct cut off at 50%. Isnt it just because 50% is a convienient number within the range of safe percentages?

Same with the number of allowable missed tests. It could easily be any number between 0 and say 5. It happens to be 3 and Chicken missed 2. So show us the passport michael and then get on with sueing the trousers off Rabo

On the other hand, his performance in the tour was sickeningly strong. I say no way can a top cyclist sprint up the slope of a HC climb in the big gear after 6 hours in the saddle....on only mineral water and pasta. Sorry Michael, you went too far with that one...
 

lancer_dancer01

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Jan 17, 2006
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He probably would have lost his yellow jersey on the final time trial anyways, unless he rode another one like he did earlier. But that would raise some questions because ras was a terrible TT until this year, I mean come on 2005 ITT, the worst one I have ever seen.
 

mlvernal

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Jul 30, 2007
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lancer_dancer01 said:
He probably would have lost his yellow jersey on the final time trial anyways, unless he rode another one like he did earlier. But that would raise some questions because ras was a terrible TT until this year, I mean come on 2005 ITT, the worst one I have ever seen.
Well - I seriously doubt he would have lost the time trial, seeing as he held +3 minutes to second place Contador (who's first time trial was only app. 20 seconds faster than Michaels) - also Evans and Leipheimer weren't in a position to reach Michael before Paris. That's a very safe assumption indeed.

Anyway. The point is that Michael's punishment is in no way proportional with his offense. Even if he proves to have lied, the action taken against him is not justice. Any student of law would (hopefully) argue the same. I mean lets not get carried away here, just because hack sportsjournalists, oppurtunistic politicians and a cloud of dobbelt standards are poisoning the debate.

Administrative punishment would have been called for but also quite suffecient - at any other time and in any other place people and the press would agree. I'm sure.

Indurain luckily agrees. :)

-mlv
 

plectrum

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lancer_dancer01 said:
He probably would have lost his yellow jersey on the final time trial anyways, unless he rode another one like he did earlier. But that would raise some questions because ras was a terrible TT until this year, I mean come on 2005 ITT, the worst one I have ever seen.
My girlfriend does say that I have chicken legs and my sister does say that I look anaemic, and I was in Montpelier a couple of weeks back so maybe I am the chicken.

Lancer Dancer - your post doesn't follow suit - W.Richards suggests Ras asked him to carry blood in 2002, this suggest Ras has been doping for many years. Ras has been training hard for many years so why this year he was better at TT.

Lets look at the variables and constants.

Constant 1: hard training
Constant 2: either an habitual doper or not a doper, I don't think anyone seriously believes this was the only year he was eihter clean or doped.
Constant 3: Rabobank (fairly long term)

Variable 1: Was in Yellow Jersey unlike other years.
Variable 2: His bike was set up differently to others in terms of frame composition for example.
Variable 3: The weather on the day.
Variable 4: Being the last rider to start a TT generally is advantageous.
Variable 5: The stage profile of this TT, i.e some climbs included.
Variable 6: His body stance was different to previous years.


And in terms of the big gear climb away at the end of stage 16, well in his defence he did ride a slightly different end 10km to Contador, who quite obviously burnt himself out with his inexperienced attacking style during that stage.

But in comparisson, Contador had the better of Rasmussen on stage 14, the first pyrennees stage.

I have yet to hear anyone say this was dope induced, most are putting it down to Contador being a better mountain rider, which is amusing considering it is Rasmussen's speciality and he is a multiple time King of the Mountains but also amusing considering that Rasmussen was completely surrounded by Rabobank on that day and had much more protection than Contador whose team although helping still had many individual battles going on.

I am really sorry but I cannot see how it is not possible this year to have one with out the other, if Ras was a doper then by default so was Contador. If Contador is clean then so is Ras. They were too equally matched for one to be on the best doping program money can buy. If people think differently then they are living in cloud cuckoo land.
 

mlvernal

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Jul 30, 2007
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plectrum said:
My girlfriend does say that I have chicken legs and my sister does say that I look anaemic, and I was in Montpelier a couple of weeks back so maybe I am the chicken.

Lancer Dancer - your post doesn't follow suit - W.Richards suggests Ras asked him to carry blood in 2002, this suggest Ras has been doping for many years. Ras has been training hard for many years so why this year he was better at TT.

Lets look at the variables and constants.

Constant 1: hard training
Constant 2: either an habitual doper or not a doper, I don't think anyone seriously believes this was the only year he was eihter clean or doped.
Constant 3: Rabobank (fairly long term)

Variable 1: Was in Yellow Jersey unlike other years.
Variable 2: His bike was set up differently to others in terms of frame composition for example.
Variable 3: The weather on the day.
Variable 4: Being the last rider to start a TT generally is advantageous.
Variable 5: The stage profile of this TT, i.e some climbs included.
Variable 6: His body stance was different to previous years.


And in terms of the big gear climb away at the end of stage 16, well in his defence he did ride a slightly different end 10km to Contador, who quite obviously burnt himself out with his inexperienced attacking style during that stage.

But in comparisson, Contador had the better of Rasmussen on stage 14, the first pyrennees stage.

I have yet to hear anyone say this was dope induced, most are putting it down to Contador being a better mountain rider, which is amusing considering it is Rasmussen's speciality and he is a multiple time King of the Mountains but also amusing considering that Rasmussen was completely surrounded by Rabobank on that day and had much more protection than Contador whose team although helping still had many individual battles going on.

I am really sorry but I cannot see how it is not possible this year to have one with out the other, if Ras was a doper then by default so was Contador. If Contador is clean then so is Ras. They were too equally matched for one to be on the best doping program money can buy. If people think differently then they are living in cloud cuckoo land.

Very well argued. You (and others who support Michael) should stop by the myspace profile and send a few words his way.

www.myspace.com/michaelrasmussen_2007

Cheers for the point well put.

-mlv
 

Tim Lamkin

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Oct 17, 2005
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Anyway. The point is that Michael's punishment is in no way proportional with his offense.
Operating in the environment of guilty until proven innocent, he received what is deemed appropriate “right” now…remember this was not about the UCI or ASO it was about the money from his sponsors, IMO they drove this not the team.
 

lucybears

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Feb 1, 2006
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Dismayed Rasmussen speaks

Michael Rasmussen, formerly of Rabobank
Photo ©: AFP

In addition to his nickname 'Chicken', Danish rider Michael Rasmussen will forever be known as the man who didn't win the 2007 Tour de France. Right or wrong, the Rabobank rider was ousted from his team under questionable circumstances and Rasmussen is now seeking answers, reports Cyclingnews' Greg Johnson.


http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2007/tour07/?id=/features/2007/tour_rasmussen_post07
 

poulidor

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Jul 31, 2006
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If Chicken had refused to leave TDF, Rabobank team would have probably leave as they were responsible (with Rasmussen and UCI) of this mess.
 

plectrum

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Tim Lamkin said:
Operating in the environment of guilty until proven innocent, he received what is deemed appropriate “right” now…remember this was not about the UCI or ASO it was about the money from his sponsors, IMO they drove this not the team.
Tim, i am not sure that this is true as today there is a newspaper article with a short interview from Rabobank which states that the sponsor i.e. the bank, needs to investigate the matter 'to find out exactly what happened' it is as if they are admitting that they didn't really push the guy but were following the advice / pressure of others or possibly didn't have much to do with it.
 

plectrum

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mlvernal said:
Very well argued. You (and others who support Michael) should stop by the myspace profile and send a few words his way.

www.myspace.com/michaelrasmussen_2007

Cheers for the point well put.

-mlv
Thanks although I doubt he is innocent, I do not think he is anymore guilty than any other major challenger. I am a supporter of the spectacle and it certainly was that whilst he was at the helm this year. After that it was boring as hell, Evans was second rate and didn't come close to pressurising Contador.

I think Cadel should remember this...on the day of reckoning you were left wanting.

TT2 - wanting
Stage 14 - wanting

Although I deeply despise Discovery in the way they, like a slug, slimed their way to the yellow jersey at least Contador was damn good and the final TT by Levi was awesome.

Although still the best rider in this year's TdF was clearly Rasmussen.
 

Skoorb

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Jan 9, 2007
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He's like the worst time trialist ever and just kicked too much butt in that TT. Anyway, I think Levi's insane TT is questionable, too.


Whatever the case, we don't know all the details. I maintain rabo wouldn't have cut their foot off without good reason.
 

kennf

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Jan 29, 2004
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mlvernal said:
Anyway. The point is that Michael's punishment is in no way proportional with his offense. Even if he proves to have lied, the action taken against him is not justice. Any student of law would (hopefully) argue the same. I mean lets not get carried away here, just because hack sportsjournalists, oppurtunistic politicians and a cloud of dobbelt standards are poisoning the debate.

Indurain luckily agrees. :)

-mlv

If he lied, it means he was intentionally avoiding out-of-competition doping tests during the two months leading up to the Tour. If that isn't a neon flaming red flag, I don't know what is. He stated has not undergone an out of competition test in 3 years.

Ask the Chicken why he has a Monaco racing license.
 

Tubbs

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Jul 11, 2005
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Skoorb said:
He's like the worst time trialist ever and just kicked too much butt in that TT. Anyway, I think Levi's insane TT is questionable, too.


Whatever the case, we don't know all the details. I maintain rabo wouldn't have cut their foot off without good reason.
Lance Armstrong circa 1995-96 wasn't that great at TT's either. I recall a certain Tour Du Pont where he got passed by Raul Alcala.
 

Klodifan

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Aug 26, 2006
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at first i was sympathetic towards chicken. i felt he was being used as a pawn. and, in some respects, i still do. but after further contemplation, he absolutely knew he was being disingenuous about the testing protocols. he absolutely manipulated his whereabouts and the rules to just get by without being sanctioned, or so he thought. he used the system, and the system came back to bite him in the butt. as cruel as it was, during the height of his career, his punishment is a statement to all other riders, "dont evade your tests"!

he absolutely should have been barred from starting the tour. his dismissal during the tour is debatable, of course. and i really dislike the discriminatory actions against certain riders. there needs to be a standard. if i compare his exclusion to alpuerto's inclusion, then there is a problem. if i isolate chickens actions, then there is not a problem. hence the problem!



my gosh! the bottom line is he evaded three seasons of out of competition tests! he should be grateful!