Saturday, October 20, 2012

The first domino falls

Rabobank, the Dutch bank, have decided to end their association with the Tour de France which began in 1984. They have given the following, brief, reason for their departure from the sport: " We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport. We are not confident that this will change for the better in the foreseeable future,We are pulling out of professional cycling. It is painful. Not just for Rabobank, but especially for the enthusiasts and the cyclists who are not to blame in this".

This of course is hugely ironic. For those who don't follow cycling Rabobank, or at least the team that carries their sponsorship, have been right at the centre of the USADA investigation into drug taking in the sport. In fact they are specifically mentioned in the 1,000 document that was published just over a week ago. As I wrote at the time the team doctor, later employed by Team Sky, was one of the persons responsible for the administering of EPO.

Given that Rabobank are the biggest sponsors of cycling in the Netherlands, somewhere north of £12 million a year, you would have thought that they would put some money and effort into combatting the cheating and drug taking. 

David Millar isn't very happy!

David Millar‏@millarmind Dear Rabobank, you were part of the problem. How dare you walk away from your young clean guys who are part of the solution. Sickening.

6 comments:

Span Ows said...

Are you really surprised though? Surely most sponsors by their nature are fair weather friends.

Paul said...

Yes and No. Surprised because it is Rabobank but not surprised because I think this could be year zero for the sport.

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