Just watched the Rabobank press-conference from the Tour de France 2007, featuring Michael Rasmussen – the man behind the amazing Tour hat-trick yesterday. Congratulations to Michael, you look sharp in “Jaune”. The result yesterday was impressive, and it almost brought a tear to my eye, I was loudly cheering him on.
But after the initial euphoria, I’m sitting here, beginning to feel queasy.
I WANT TO BELIEVE
At the press-conference, somewhat to my surprise, at least a few journalists dared to ask “the question”: “can we trust you”? “are you “clean””?
Rasmussen looked very confident when he confirmed: that we can “trust him: he’s not using illegal means to get his results” – I want to believe him – but even if the means aren’t exactly illegal, they could be “questionable”.
So: I want to believe Rasmussen, not least because I LOVE professional cycling.
It’s possible we can trust him, even likely, but he’s positively using ALL the legal means – and likely some that are “pushing” it – that money can buy to get his results, as all the top riders have to.
It has, for instance, been unveiled that Michael Rasmussen does “height training”, well he sort of has to – but one of the side effects of training in the high mountains, is that it is, in some ways, the “natural” way of achieving results similar to “blood doping”. Rasmussen also confirmed that he’s using wind-tunnels and I suppose that he might also be using “height chambers”, but that is on my own account. These things aren’t cheating, it’s simply using technology to improve your results. Illegal? No! Questionable? Maybe!
Rasmussen has also been quoted with calling the UCI “Men in Black” – he joked about that today, saying that he thought that the MiB was “Will Smith and this other guy, that run around shooting aliens”. Rasmussen now, cleverly, thinks that the UCI are “just doing their job”.
But…I’d stongly question if it hasn’t gone too far, when you need to consult a staff of medical doctors daily, I thought you only needed to do that a few times yearly, unless you suffer from a “serious condition”. Being engaged in professional sports obviously is akin to having a “serious condition”.
The “Men in Black” can’t gain access, because they would have to fight off the “Men in White” first.
Give Bjarne Riis some love – Sir Bjarne would be nice
A related note:
For 10 years now the sports journalists has been conducting a witch-hunt against Bjarne Riis, the man behind the greatest sports-result in history by a Dane in an individual discipline, constantly pondering the bleeding obvious: “was Bjarne Riis using illegal means while he was engaged in professional cycling“?. Of course he was, he even indirectly admitted it in 1998, by saying that he had never “been tested positive”. And that’s where it should have stopped. It’s well know that all of the top riders in the 90ies were using illicit means to get the results. So when he finally, bravely, admitted to using EPO it was not even news-worthy, albeit wise and commendable.
Bjarne Riis still deserves to be recognised as a role-model:
He broke the typical Danish attitude of self-depreciation; showed that you can set a goal and achieve it – doing EXACTLY what it took. After ending his active career, he’s managed to take a third rate cycling team, and make it the best in the world, like he said he would.
I’d say he deserves a Knighthood as much as Michael Laudrup. Sir Bjarne – I like the way that sounds.
“Put up or shut up”
The journalists should stop the which-hunt – get real – engaging in professional sports has, as mentioned earlier, been akin to a “serious condition” since ancient times – if you don’t like it, stop covering it!
And finally: “Grill” the “Chicken” like you do the “Eagle” – or shut up!