A TRIBUTE TO (and in defense of) MICHAEL RASMUSSEN



mlvernal

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Jul 30, 2007
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Klodifan said:
my gosh! the bottom line is he evaded three seasons of out of competition tests! he should be grateful!
Couldn't disagree more on that particular statement - sorry. It's really a matter of a complete lack of rule of law and rights - moral standards do not apply because they are at worst arbitrary and at best unconsistant (and not to mention often a far cry from being based on unanimous consent). In any other circumstance the actions taken against Michael would be regarded as unjustifiable. To that effect, whether or not he should have been in the tour at all is also besides the point.

It remains that Michael Rasmussen was in the tour. So as you say there has to be standards that apply to him as anyone else - standards that also work fairly towards candidates "likely" to be doped, i.e. the favorites. Rasmussen was thrown out with no tests proving him positive. The moment they find a positive test, then its a cut and dry case of disqualification. Until that point anything other than administrative sanctions are simply off the mark.

Regarding the sponsors and whether or not they applied pressure on Theo de Rooij, then I agree that it's likely that they indeed had something to say. How much we will probably never know. But at least its safe to assume that Rabobank (the sponsors) will be candid about this whole affair. Whatever their role is or has been, they will represent themselves towards the public and the press not as the bullies who (maybe prematurely) sacked Rasmussen, but as merely concerned and somewhat confused do-gooders. "We're shocked and will look into this". "Naturally we are not political". "Bla bla bla."

Again the real problem is the underlying moral standard that the sports press has been so eager to represent. A moral standard that the sponors uncritically have to follow, even though often is pure baloney. The press has waged a war on doping but in doing so they have failed to focus on other likewise important issues; the tour itself, the riders' civil rights, the (economical and/or political) motivations of the sponsors, etc.

The press and journalists have been obsessed with cleaning up the sport, but in my opinion they have dirtied it even further. As a former Danish Tour de France commentator recently put it: "Congratulations, the operation is a succes. The Patient is dead."

- mlv
 

Tim Lamkin

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Oct 17, 2005
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The press and journalists have been obsessed with cleaning up the sport, but in my opinion they have dirtied it even further.
Me thinks the press is not forcing the riders to dope...so not sure if that is a fair statement.
 

strummer_fan

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Aug 13, 2004
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mlvernal said:
Couldn't disagree more on that particular statement - sorry. It's really a matter of a complete lack of rule of law and rights - moral standards do not apply because they are at worst arbitrary and at best unconsistant (and not to mention often a far cry from being based on unanimous consent). In any other circumstance the actions taken against Michael would be regarded as unjustifiable. To that effect, whether or not he should have been in the tour at all is also besides the point.

It remains that Michael Rasmussen was in the tour. So as you say there has to be standards that apply to him as anyone else - standards that also work fairly towards candidates "likely" to be doped, i.e. the favorites. Rasmussen was thrown out with no tests proving him positive. The moment they find a positive test, then its a cut and dry case of disqualification. Until that point anything other than administrative sanctions are simply off the mark.

Regarding the sponsors and whether or not they applied pressure on Theo de Rooij, then I agree that it's likely that they indeed had something to say. How much we will probably never know. But at least its safe to assume that Rabobank (the sponsors) will be candid about this whole affair. Whatever their role is or has been, they will represent themselves towards the public and the press not as the bullies who (maybe prematurely) sacked Rasmussen, but as merely concerned and somewhat confused do-gooders. "We're shocked and will look into this". "Naturally we are not political". "Bla bla bla."

Again the real problem is the underlying moral standard that the sports press has been so eager to represent. A moral standard that the sponors uncritically have to follow, even though often is pure baloney. The press has waged a war on doping but in doing so they have failed to focus on other likewise important issues; the tour itself, the riders' civil rights, the (economical and/or political) motivations of the sponsors, etc.

The press and journalists have been obsessed with cleaning up the sport, but in my opinion they have dirtied it even further. As a former Danish Tour de France commentator recently put it: "Congratulations, the operation is a succes. The Patient is dead."

- mlv
In this day and age, it is very easy to show where someone was. Michael should be able to easily prove that he WAS in Mexico, and that he was NOT in Italy during June. His cell phone provider can tell you where his phone was that month. He can point to plane tickets, credit card receipts, passport stamps, etc.

He has not.

With the Victory in the Tour de France hanging in the balance, you would think he could have told Rabobank... give me 24 hours and I'll provide you with evidence that proves I was in Mexico. He could have produced any type of evidence as listed above.

He did not.

The team asked him to leave.

I feel bad for the guy, but if you are one of the top 200 cyclists in the world, you need to let the federations know where you are, so you can be tested. End of story.

sigh.
 

Klodifan

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Aug 26, 2006
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mlvernal said:
Couldn't disagree more on that particular statement - sorry. It's really a matter of a complete lack of rule of law and rights - moral standards do not apply because they are at worst arbitrary and at best unconsistant (and not to mention often a far cry from being based on unanimous consent). In any other circumstance the actions taken against Michael would be regarded as unjustifiable. To that effect, whether or not he should have been in the tour at all is also besides the point.

It remains that Michael Rasmussen was in the tour. So as you say there has to be standards that apply to him as anyone else - standards that also work fairly towards candidates "likely" to be doped, i.e. the favorites. Rasmussen was thrown out with no tests proving him positive. The moment they find a positive test, then its a cut and dry case of disqualification. Until that point anything other than administrative sanctions are simply off the mark.

Regarding the sponsors and whether or not they applied pressure on Theo de Rooij, then I agree that it's likely that they indeed had something to say. How much we will probably never know. But at least its safe to assume that Rabobank (the sponsors) will be candid about this whole affair. Whatever their role is or has been, they will represent themselves towards the public and the press not as the bullies who (maybe prematurely) sacked Rasmussen, but as merely concerned and somewhat confused do-gooders. "We're shocked and will look into this". "Naturally we are not political". "Bla bla bla."

Again the real problem is the underlying moral standard that the sports press has been so eager to represent. A moral standard that the sponors uncritically have to follow, even though often is pure baloney. The press has waged a war on doping but in doing so they have failed to focus on other likewise important issues; the tour itself, the riders' civil rights, the (economical and/or political) motivations of the sponsors, etc.

The press and journalists have been obsessed with cleaning up the sport, but in my opinion they have dirtied it even further. As a former Danish Tour de France commentator recently put it: "Congratulations, the operation is a succes. The Patient is dead."

- mlv
technically, he wasnt thrown out by the tour. he was sacked by his team for lying. you cannot take morality out of this eventhough you so wish to. an employer has every right to fire employee for unbecoming conduct. chicken lied. everything else about his evasion of drug doping protocols just strenghthens rabobanks decision.

it is simple. part of his job obligation is to represent rabobank positively. he failed. he was fired. end of story.
 

Tubbs

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Jul 11, 2005
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Klodifan said:
technically, he wasnt thrown out by the tour. he was sacked by his team for lying. you cannot take morality out of this eventhough you so wish to. an employer has every right to fire employee for unbecoming conduct. chicken lied. everything else about his evasion of drug doping protocols just strenghthens rabobanks decision.

it is simple. part of his job obligation is to represent rabobank positively. he failed. he was fired. end of story.
I somewhat agree with Klodifan on this. Nobody comes away looking good from all the situation. Not Rasmussen, not ASO not the UCI. Cycling just looks bad. Legally, does Rasmussen have a case against Rabo for wrongful dismissal? perhaps... but at the end of the day, if we really want to succeed in the fight against doping, everyone, including the riders must personally take on that fight.

Let's say Rasmussen is clean, then I'm sorry but his behaviour is just irresponsible. He has just basically shown the dopers a weakness in the fight against doping that they can exploit. Had he been a different kind of professional... let's say a banker or some sort of businessman, that would be grounds for dismissal.

From a different perspective, the ASO and UCI really need to end their pissing match and work together. This ProTour spat is starting to negatively affect those who are trying to clean up the sport. So yes, they too are behaving irresponsibly.
 

mlvernal

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Jul 30, 2007
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Tubbs said:
I somewhat agree with Klodifan on this. Nobody comes away looking good from all the situation. Not Rasmussen, not ASO not the UCI. Cycling just looks bad. Legally, does Rasmussen have a case against Rabo for wrongful dismissal? perhaps... but at the end of the day, if we really want to succeed in the fight against doping, everyone, including the riders must personally take on that fight.
It's a matter of proportions. He was days from fulfilling his lifelong dream. The punishment of getting thrown out (yes I know he was sacked by the team) of the Tour, is in no way proportional with the offense.

It's pure and simple discrimination. Any other rider with lower ranking or out of the group of favorites would not have been fired and everybody would (hopefully) understand. It's wrongful and unjust to overreact just because Rasmussen is deemed a likely candidate.

But they overreact because the war on doping means that every rider out there is being handled and looked upon as were he a politician or representative of the public - thus as if they have a special moral obligation to the public. And we that critize them for not being perfect and living up to their responsiblity feel soooo much better about ourselves when we can point our fingers at them. Arguing again that they have that special moral obligation. Humbug.

Well let me burst that balloon. They are NOT representatives of either one of us. And nor should they be. Even without doping they still engage themselves in a sport that is so brutal and extreme, that only a very small handful of the rest of us could follow in their footsteps. Please do not apply your moral standards. Be ethical, sure. Be be so within a non-discriminatory and rights based perspective.

Come on! Every man, woman and child have at some point bent the rules a little. So let's put it into perspective - Rasmussen MAYBE lied.

Tim Lamkin said:
Me thinks the press is not forcing the riders to dope...so not sure if that is a fair statement.
Geez Louis. That was not the statement. The statement is, that when trying to clean the sport you have to watch out that you're not destroying what you're trying to save. Blaming the riders and doctors solely is a huge mistake and it's quite unbelievable that the amateur press covering the tour haven't been willing to see the problem in it's larger perspective.

The easiest and most narrow minded way to look at this is, that it's the rider's who carry the responsibility. And that leads to ill-advised actions as say, what happened to Michael Rasmussen.

(As such this whole ordeal is a quite the allegory for the current war on terror. But that, as they say, is a another story.)

Thanks again everyone for reading and sharing your opinions!!

-mlv
 

Tim Lamkin

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Oct 17, 2005
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The easiest and most narrow minded way to look at this is, that it's the rider's who carry the responsibility.
I don't give a dam who is pushing the riders....doctors, mangers, banks, of even DH to take drugs IT IS the riders responsibility NOT to take the drugs or blood or anything, who the hell do you think is the last one in line to say NO.



You need to get a grip and understand the rider is the guy turning the cranks, saying no means loosing his job then so be it....stand up and have some balls to clean up this sport. :mad:

Who are you protecting?
 

mlvernal

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Jul 30, 2007
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Tim Lamkin said:
You need to get a grip and understand the rider is the guy turning the cranks, saying no means loosing his job then so be it....stand up and have some balls to clean up this sport. :mad:

Who are you protecting?
I'll give you this: The frase you quote me for is admittedly (out of context and) lacking nuances.

The rider's DO have a responsibility and yes to a certain extent it begins and ends with them. But I'm pointing to the fact that they also need protection in this war on doping. As do the sport itself.

We have to be careful never to act prematurely on grounds of suspicion and circumstancial evidence only. In doing so we loose sight of the rider's rights as individuals. And that leads to drastic and certainly very unfair measures. And that ruins the sport. Administrative punishment would be fair and called for. But also sufficient. As you say: End of story.

So to answer your question again clearly: I'm protecting the rights of the rider's of the Tour. Call me a devil's advocate. But as far as your line of arguments, I would (with no disrespect) say the same about you.

"This isn't Nam. We have rules!"

-mlv
 

mlvernal

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Jul 30, 2007
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Tim Lamkin said:
Excuse me...what do you mean by this
It's a reference to the Coen brothers comedy The Big Lebowski, where Walt looses his temper (again) over a game of bowling and shouts out that very frase.

Please do not take it too seriously. I just ment to stress that while fighting doping, be aware that rules and rights must remain intact, fair, balanced and equal to all.

Best
mlv
 

helmutRoole2

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mlvernal said:
So to answer your question again clearly: I'm protecting the rights of the rider's of the Tour.
This is the calling card left by fans when their rider gets stung.

Look, any rational, innocent victim of WADA/UCI/ASO/RoboBank/The Press would simply prove their innocence by providing the reams of documentation that would exist showing their whereabouts during the aforementioned timeframe.

Any argument he comes up with pales in the face of this.
 

strummer_fan

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Aug 13, 2004
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mlvernal said:
It's pure and simple discrimination. Any other rider with lower ranking or out of the group of favorites would not have been fired and everybody would (hopefully) understand. It's wrongful and unjust to overreact just because Rasmussen is deemed a likely candidate.
-mlv
mlv-
Don't you think it would be very easy for Rasmussen to prove what continent he was on, if his life's dream depended on it? The early reports said that Rasmussen had admitted to being in Italy and that's why Rabobank fired him.

The Tour de France was not riding on it for me, but I was in England and France at the beginning of July, and if someone had accused me of being on another continent, I could very prove that I was there and not here in North America. Passport stamps, plane tickets, photos, cell phone records, etc.

If M. Rasmussen was faced with losing the tour, couldn't he prove his whereabouts? If not, why not? You don't answer this in any of your posts...

?
 

limerickman

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Jan 5, 2004
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strummer_fan said:
mlv-
Don't you think it would be very easy for Rasmussen to prove what continent he was on, if his life's dream depended on it? The early reports said that Rasmussen had admitted to being in Italy and that's why Rabobank fired him.

The Tour de France was not riding on it for me, but I was in England and France at the beginning of July, and if someone had accused me of being on another continent, I could very prove that I was there and not here in North America. Passport stamps, plane tickets, photos, cell phone records, etc.

If M. Rasmussen was faced with losing the tour, couldn't he prove his whereabouts? If not, why not? You don't answer this in any of your posts...

?

very good points, JS.
 

mlvernal

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helmutRoole2 said:
This is the calling card left by fans when their rider gets stung.

Look, any rational, innocent victim of WADA/UCI/ASO/RoboBank/The Press would simply prove their innocence by providing the reams of documentation that would exist showing their whereabouts during the aforementioned timeframe.

Any argument he comes up with pales in the face of this.
1: No thats not fair. He wasn't stung. He was accused. If Michael was stung - as in proven guilty in doping himself during the tour - then it's very clear cut. He goes out. No discussion.

2: There's still a sport to take into consideration, that's why I stretch myself so far in defending him. As should you guys, or the Tour is indeed dead.

3: Actually, my conviction is that Michael may very well have lied about his whereabouts. And given the circumstances I too find it hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. I will admit to that (although I haven't stated otherwise in my previous posts). I just can't (being rational) see how on earth the punishment fits the offense. Regardless of whether or not he's telling the truth. And regardless of who executes the punishment. Rabobank made a mistake, and the Tour-management certainly also did when supporting Theo's decision and calling it "the best day in the tour 2007".

So to repeat myself: The punishment doesn't fit the offense, and it doesn't because alot of people are overreacting wildly. If we calm down we'll know what to do and when to do it.

-mlv
 

strummer_fan

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mlvernal said:
3: Actually, my conviction is that Michael may very well have lied about his whereabouts. And given the circumstances I too find it hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. I will admit to that (although I haven't stated otherwise in my previous posts). I just can't (being rational) see how on earth the punishment fits the offense. Regardless of whether or not he's telling the truth. And regardless of who executes the punishment. Rabobank made a mistake, and the Tour-management certainly also did when supporting Theo's decision and calling it "the best day in the tour 2007".

So to repeat myself: The punishment doesn't fit the offense, and it doesn't because alot of people are overreacting wildly. If we calm down we'll know what to do and when to do it.

-mlv
There is absolutely NO REASON to lie about your whereabouts unless you are trying to skip a test. The only reason to skip a test is to hide something. The only reason to hide something, is because you are cheating.

Rabobank had given Rasmussen great freedom to train on his own. He did not train with the team. If they found that he had lied about his whereabouts, then they had the right to fire him.

mlv-
WHY would he LIE about his whereabouts?????
 

mlvernal

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strummer_fan said:
There is absolutely NO REASON to lie about your whereabouts unless you are trying to skip a test. The only reason to skip a test is to hide something. The only reason to hide something, is because you are cheating.

Rabobank had given Rasmussen great freedom to train on his own. He did not train with the team. If they found that he had lied about his whereabouts, then they had the right to fire him.

mlv-
WHY would he LIE about his whereabouts?????
Seriously? I just commented on that.

As far as your conviction or mine, then we may or may not believe him to be cheating and we can choose to support him, ignore him or "sanction" him in any way we see fit. But as far as laws and regulations go during the tour and between riders and their team and sponsors - then Michael is not-guilty until proven otherwise. I really can't see how you can challenge that.

I'm not being naive. Thats just rule of law for you. Sorry.

-mlv

PS: And why my die hard motivation? Because this is what's first and foremost ruining the tour. Not only doping.
 

helmutRoole2

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mlvernal said:
So to repeat myself: The punishment doesn't fit the offense, and it doesn't because alot of people are overreacting wildly. If we calm down we'll know what to do and when to do it.

-mlv
Well, if that's the point you're arguing, I'll go along with it. I don't think the punishment fits the crime. In reality, he didn't do anything beyond the rules stipulated by -- who would it be? WADA or the UCI ref. out of competition tests (OCT)? Why is his team getting involved if he hasn't broken any rules put down by the governing bodies?

It's got to make you wonder about out of competition testing. You can miss two OTCs and still be in the clear? Can anyone else see how this rule encourages doping? It allows an athlete to save up his missed OCTs to use at a later date.

Look, if WADA shows up at a cyclist's predetermined whereabouts and he/she isn't there, WADA -- given the speed at which information travels these days -- could easily put the word through the media, a cell phone, a second point of contact, that Rider X has 24 hours to make himself available for testing or risk sanctions.

This rule is designed to be broken and then used to exemplify the lengths to which cycling is going to clean up the sport.

Let me just add Nike Themes. I just want to throw that out there as well.

Seriously, I think they didn't act fairly, but I think they did act correctly. And, Ras has got to understand the climate in the sport right now -- unpredictable. Teams are sacrificing riders right and left to appease sponsors, race promoters and the UCI.
 

strummer_fan

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Aug 13, 2004
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mlvernal said:
As far as your conviction or mine, then we may or may not believe him to be cheating and we can choose to support him, ignore him or "sanction" him in any way we see fit. But as far as laws and regulations go during the tour and between riders and their team and sponsors - then Michael is not-guilty until proven otherwise. I really can't see how you can challenge that.
Hey, I'm sorry if I have you all worked up about this. I understand that this is a disappointment... I was in total shock when I heard the news about Rasmussen's dismissal. I was getting ready for a ride, and I was so disgusted, I didn't even go out.

The fact of the matter is the only people who as much to lose as Rasmussen were Rabobank itself. Menchov, Boogerd, Weening, and Dekker had all ridden themselves into the ground trying to help Michael defend the jersey. Rabobank has been pouring money into the sport for years and has never had a TdF win.

If they pulled the plug on him, they must know something you don't. They must have decided that it was better to pull him on their own, then have the team implode and die like Phonak did when Landis was caught. A lot of people in and around Phonak lost their jobs, due to the evaporation of support. By pulling Michael, they gained the respect of their title sponsor, who has decided to continue to back them.

The one person to blame in all of this? Michael Rasmussen. He has to take responsibility for breaking the rules and risking his dream. They have out of competition tests for a reason - just ask Sinkewitz.

I feel bad for our sport, bad for Rabobank, and I do feel bad for Michael Rasmussen. But again, if Rasmussen had followed the rules that govern all of the top riders in the sport, he'd be in Yellow today, and the first Danish champion since Bjarne Riis.
 

Klodifan

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Aug 26, 2006
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strummer_fan said:
There is absolutely NO REASON to lie about your whereabouts unless you are trying to skip a test. The only reason to skip a test is to hide something. The only reason to hide something, is because you are cheating.

Rabobank had given Rasmussen great freedom to train on his own. He did not train with the team. If they found that he had lied about his whereabouts, then they had the right to fire him.

mlv-
WHY would he LIE about his whereabouts?????
and with that, case closed! no further discussion is needed