Rabobank to leave cycling

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Rabobank to leave cycling

Post by Fernando on Fri 19 Oct 2012, 10:38 am

Rabobank is ending its sponsorship of its professional cycling team following the Lance Armstrong doping revelations.

The Dutch bank's decision follows a United States Anti-Doping Agency report which concluded that Armstrong engaged in "serial cheating".

"We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport," said Rabobank's Bert Bruggink.

After 17 years in the sport, Rabobank will end its deal on 31 December.

The news comes just one day after the Rabobank team suspended Carlos Barredo after the sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), launched a doping case against the Spaniard.

It is not the only doping investigation to hit the team which has entered every Tour de France race since 1996, recording 23 stage wins.

Levi Leipheimer, one of 11 former team-mates of Armstrong who testified against his fellow American, has admitted to doping while riding for Rabobank.

The 38-year-old, who said he took EPO and testosterone with the help of the US Postal Service doctor, stated: "I continued to use EPO while with Rabobank in 2002, 2003, 2004 and was also assisted in using it by the Rabobank team doctor."

He also testified that other members of the Rabobank team used banned substances.

In 2007, Rabobank looked set for overall victory in the Tour de France when Michael Rasmussen led Alberto Contador by more than three minutes with just four stages remaining.

However, the Danish climbing specialist was withdrawn from the race and sacked after lying about his whereabouts when he missed drug tests in the build-up to the Tour.

Rasmussen served a two-year ban, returning in July 2009.

The current team of 27 male riders, which featured recently retired three-time world road race champion Oscar Freire, and the women's team, which contains Dutch Olympic and World road race champion Marianne Vos, will both be wound up.

However, Rabobank, which has been the biggest sponsor in Dutch professional cycling, spending 15m euros (£12.2m) a year, will continue its ties with amateur cycling as a sponsor, including the youth training and the cyclocross team.

"It is with pain in our heart, but for the bank this is an inevitable decision," Bruggink continued.

"It is painful. Not just for Rabobank, but especially for the enthusiasts and the cyclists who are not to blame in this."

The Rabobank cycling team said in a statement it regretted but understood the bank's decision.

"We've been cycling for 17 years now with the name Rabobank proudly on our shirts and it hurts that going forward we'll have to do without that name," it said.

Source:bbc sport

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Re: Rabobank to leave cycling

Post by dummy_half on Fri 19 Oct 2012, 11:55 am

Over the years Rabobank (the team) have had their fair share of drug cheats and questionable practices. They tried to clear things up within the team management and medical support after the Rasmussen and Thomas Dekker cases in the last 5 years, but I guess this is the straw that broke the camel's back (particularly the revelations about Leipheimer) as far as Rabobank the sponsor were concerned.

Between the USADA case against Armstrong and the (in part related) investigations of money laundering and tax evasion against Dr Ferrari, there could be quite a few more casualties yet, some of who might have significant ties to Rabobank (Denis Menchov for one appears to be quite heavily implicated in the Ferrari case).

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