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The Scapegoat

Oct 25, 2012
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Read this about 2 months ago. Little did I know how relevant it would become!

I do think Michael Rasmussen was unfairly singled out, and it will be interesting to see if he ever comes clean and clears up whether he really was the deserving winner of the Tour De France 2007 ( it certainly wasnt Contador, I'm pretty sure of that!)
 

mountainrman

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I have been trying to find somewhere to buy a hardcopy of it.

Is there anywhere anyone knows?

Rasmussen is living proof of how arbitrary and random cycling justice is, and how the rules are too different county to country. He notes - if he had been spanish, or taken mexican nationality because of his wife, he would not have had both danish and UCI testing, so would not have missed enough tests to have been kicked out, or for the team to consider wrongly suspending him, so would have won the TdF - it should not be.

I think it ould be part of why Rabo pulled out. The team will foot the bill when Rasmussen takes them to the cleaners for millions.
 
Sep 7, 2009
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MellowJohnny said:
Not strictly doping but it does cover the topic,

I'm reading the Scapegoat by a Danish author on a kindle books at the moment,

Worth a good read IMO

Thanks for the tip. I'm downloading to my kindle right now.
 
Oct 24, 2012
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MellowJohnny said:
Not strictly doping but it does cover the topic,

I'm reading the Scapegoat by a Danish author on a kindle books at the moment,

Worth a good read IMO

Thanks for the recommendation - just got it.

BTW, does anyone else remember the strange interview with Rasmussen in Rouleur where he starts off by saying something to the effect that he doesn't want to talk about the stuff they'd talked about before because he's got a team now and has to play the game again?
 
Your welcome

I've been reading it today (its a long ebook) - I don't think its available as a hard copy. A slight criticism may be that I think it was originally wrote in Danish and is translated, but that is only minor. A good recommendation all the same.

Yes indeed it seems Rasmussen was very harshly treated, at the time (2007) I was only a casual follower of the TdF and thought nothing of it, the fact that Contador went on to win is ironic.

I'm just reading a part of it now (around 38%) where Greg Lemond comments about how the good guys (Rasmussen, Pantani, Landis and Hamilton) are treated unfairly by the UCI and national federations,

I wonder if this thing (doping in cycling) is more about those how can and have the power to influence the big authorities in the game.

As Tyler says though the true will set you free
 

mountainrman

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Am now half way through it.

It is certainly not biographic , and it will disappoint all who expect that, it is an analysis of all of the events leading up to, surrounding, and subsequent to the expulsion, ban, and Rasmsussens successful legal challenge of Rabobank over his withdrawal and firing.

I had followed this story at the time: and it was one of the events that demonstrated to me that the legal system of cycling is dysfunctional, arbitrary and the various bodies do not even pay lip service to their own rulebooks on occasions , and also shows how the various bodies have very different interpretations of the same set of rules, all demonstrated by this book. If ever anyone needed proof that country federations should have no part in cycling justice it is this. It is hard to construe in any other light than the "danes were out to get rasmussen"

It added a lot of new questions for me. For example it presents a lot of evidence that UCI have been selectively leaking information to the press in order to actively damage riders in complete violation of the agreements it has with riders on confidentiality.

There are examples given of that, other than Rasmsussen: Taking of cocaine whilst reprehensible is not actually a sporting violation, except during competition - yet when UCI testing of Tom Boonen showed out of competition positives for cocaine (which is not a failed test as far as UCI are concerned) it was handed to the press in a very damaging way. The UCI committee of investigation should certainly look at who breeched that confidentiality and sack them summarily. In essence it was selective leaks of the whereabouts system and warnings related to it(none of which consituted a violation) that started the chain of events that downed rasmussen. There are many incidents in the book that highlight questionable relationships between journalists and the federations.

So looking forward to reading the rest.

It is as other people pointed out a fairly terse book, and does not even have page numbers on kindle - It reads like as a raw investigative journal - it is not senstationalized in any way, and is not edited or assembled to make the subject more interesting. So it is not an "easy read" - but is all the more valuable because of that.. It also proves to me why I do not like Kindle for other than sequential novels - since there are many references you want to flip to and from, and kindle does not make that easy. It is not biographic and focusses on documents, and communications in a third person manner. References to comment by Rasmussen himself are relatively few and far between.

The author does not appear to have any agenda other than getting to the truth. He is not by intention trying to vilify or exonerate Rasmussen, other than as the evidence leads him. But he is certainly critical of cycling justice.
 
mountainrman said:
?

Rasmussen is living proof of how arbitrary and random cycling justice is, and how the rules are too different county to country. He notes - if he had been spanish, or taken mexican nationality because of his wife, he would not have had both danish and UCI testing, so would not have missed enough tests to have been kicked out, or for the team to consider wrongly suspending him, so would have won the TdF - it should not be.

Sounds an interesting book, and a good read. I'll check it out if it comes into my local library!

As I really don't know much about the case I'm hesitant to point out the obvious flaw in this argument above. But, since it's a web forum I figure expertise isn't a pree-requisite!

And the flaw in the logic is this. Even though Rasmussen might have felt it was unfair that he was meant to be tested more than all those famous Mexican cyclists. Even though maybe it is unfair that one cyclist is tested more than another. He still missed the tests. He still lied about his whereabouts. He still very clearly, and very cynically, broke the rules. And got caught doing so. Didn't he?

Now whether or not people in his team were party to that and deflected blame onto him unfairly (which I can well believe), and whether those people deserved punishment too (which I can also well believe), it doesn't really change the fact that he broke rule 1, and so can't really claim t was unfair that he was punished?
 
Sep 29, 2012
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RownhamHill said:
Sounds an interesting book, and a good read. I'll check it out if it comes into my local library!

As I really don't know much about the case I'm hesitant to point out the obvious flaw in this argument above. But, since it's a web forum I figure expertise isn't a pree-requisite!

And the flaw in the logic is this. Even though Rasmussen might have felt it was unfair that he was meant to be tested more than all those famous Mexican cyclists. Even though maybe it is unfair that one cyclist is tested more than another. He still missed the tests. He still lied about his whereabouts. He still very clearly, and very cynically, broke the rules. And got caught doing so. Didn't he?

Now whether or not people in his team were party to that and deflected blame onto him unfairly (which I can well believe), and whether those people deserved punishment too (which I can also well believe), it doesn't really change the fact that he broke rule 1, and so can't really claim t was unfair that he was punished?

If he had actually violated the 3 strikes whereabouts rule, then:

why was he allowed to even start the Tour?
why was it the team that pulled him, not the UCI or ASO?

Furthermore: how did the team find out about the missed whereabouts incidents?
 

mountainrman

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RownhamHill said:
Sounds an interesting book, and a good read. I'll check it out if it comes into my local library!

As I really don't know much about the case I'm hesitant to point out the obvious flaw in this argument above. But, since it's a web forum I figure expertise isn't a pree-requisite!

And the flaw in the logic is this. Even though Rasmussen might have felt it was unfair that he was meant to be tested more than all those famous Mexican cyclists. Even though maybe it is unfair that one cyclist is tested more than another. He still missed the tests. He still lied about his whereabouts. He still very clearly, and very cynically, broke the rules. And got caught doing so. Didn't he?

Now whether or not people in his team were party to that and deflected blame onto him unfairly (which I can well believe), and whether those people deserved punishment too (which I can also well believe), it doesn't really change the fact that he broke rule 1, and so can't really claim t was unfair that he was punished?

I shall use the word "warning" and "actual infraction" to discriminate the stages of process - because the words they use "written" and "recorded" do not convey the severity of the two events.

Read the book - the rules of the time were he had to have three actual infractions from a single agency: he did not - he was cleared to ride the TdF , and moreover had been given a fine by his team for the infractions, so it was clear they knew the score, and also where he was, at the time they claimed they did not know.

Indeed the first "infraction" in 2006 for the danish agency was only a "warning" although wrongfully treated as an "infraction". For most riders the "warnings" after reasonable explanation (like travelled to a race a day early) never translated to infraction, but always did for Rasmussen, despite the fact his explanations were the same being given by other riders - but in that case in violation of all process they went straight to infraction on the basis of one persons decision without discussion and no "warning" which should have triggered evaluation.

Two later "infractions" from the two different agencies referrered to the same actual period , so should have only counted as one "infraction" on clear legal principle..

There was nothing in the rulebook at all, that allowed them to exclude him from the race when already cleared to do so. Indeed the entire storm blew up because of clear breech of confidentiality by UCI regarding the rider whereabouts system, someone seemed to have planted the story on the basis of that privileged knowledge deliberately.


Only in Ramussens case did they add up (dodgy) claims of infraction from two different agencies to arrive at the magic 3 needed to execute any sanction - arguably only two had merit, and even had they been valid 3 he might reasonably have expected a 6 month sanction, rather than the 2 years executed - then extended to life by the unfair blacklisting.

It makes horrible reading and mockery of the idea that there is justice of any form.

And so on and so forth.

In short the danish federation seemed determined to "get him" by any means possible, using creative interpretation of rules. and then UCI did their best to blacklist him after that. Which is wholly in contravention of the ethos of keeping to a set of rules - which should be a two way obligation as binding on the agencies as it was on the riders. Not so. The agencies made up the rules to suit them.

The point I have made on the armstrong thread (which has earned me titles of armstrong supporter, which iscertainly not the case) is that cycling justice must be based on rules which are unambiguous and applied impartially - which means inevitably outside federation jurisdiction - so the spanish cannot featherbed contador, and also outside UCI because of conflict of interests.

It should also be confidential, with no leaks from UCI or federations until all appeals are heard to ensure fair hearing - not as they did to Bruyneel - dump the entire prosecution case without a hint of fair evaluation of evidence into the public domain for trial by media before an appeal. It is errant nonsense to leave Riis with his TDF title when admitting doping, and stripping armstrong of his example. It is even more ridiculous to use US law as the basis for removing SOL, when the rules on WADA SOL must be even handed in every jurisdiction clearly.

And so on...

I have always considered athletics and cycling "justice" to be arbitrary, more about "who likes you" than the facts of the case, and the Rasmussen case reinforced it for me at the time.

This book tells me a lot I did not know in addition to the obvious injustice suffered by Rasmussen which was based on media storm based on selective media leaking and hearsay, not the facts or the rules.

The justice system stinks and to regain any credibility needs rebuilding bottom up outside the petty fiefdoms that presently decide matters on who is "In favour" - which is how Armstrong was protected so long by UCI who had ample time and evidence to begin investigation but never did because he was " a good guy" - Rasmussen brand "bad guy" never stood a chance: the rules were bent and changed to convict him because somebody did not like him much.
 
Dear Wiggo said:
If he had actually violated the 3 strikes whereabouts rule, then:

why was he allowed to even start the Tour?
why was it the team that pulled him, not the UCI or ASO?

Furthermore: how did the team find out about the missed whereabouts incidents?

I don't know - I'm not an expert. Maybe he didn't break any rules at all? Genuinely, I'm not close to this case, my vague recollection was that it emerged during the tour that when he'd said he'd been in Mexico he was actually training in Italy, which became a third strike for breaking the whereabouts rules? If you know better please tell me rather than asking a load of (seemingly to me) rhetorical questions.

Though, I'd like to add my own (non-rhetorical) question:

Why did he subsequently get banned for two years, which was upheld by CAS, if he hadn't broken any rules?
 
Sep 29, 2012
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RownhamHill said:
I don't know - I'm not an expert. Maybe he didn't break any rules at all? Genuinely, I'm not close to this case, my vague recollection was that it emerged during the tour that when he'd said he'd been in Mexico he was actually training in Italy, which became a third strike for breaking the whereabouts rules? If you know better please tell me rather than asking a load of (seemingly to me) rhetorical questions.

Though, I'd like to add my own (non-rhetorical) question:

Why did he subsequently get banned for two years, which was upheld by CAS, if he hadn't broken any rules?

Emerged. Like a link between Armstrong's 1999 sample id and his name. Magic!
 

mountainrman

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Dear Wiggo said:
If he had actually violated the 3 strikes whereabouts rule, then:

why was he allowed to even start the Tour?
why was it the team that pulled him, not the UCI or ASO?

Furthermore: how did the team find out about the missed whereabouts incidents?

That is what the book is about - and the answers to your questions leave a stench over all the agencies in cycling none of whom behaved with any integrity whatsoever: quite simply there was no lawful reason for any of the bodies or the team to pull him from the tour, indeed in the light of all knowledge available up to the start, they had cleared him to ride - he was tried by media after selective leaking of confidential information clearly intended to harm him, and when found guilty by media only , pressure was put on Rabobank to withdraw him outside any judicial system or fair hearing. Nothing to do with the rules.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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mountainrman said:
That is what the book is about - and the answers to your questions leave a stench over all the agencies in cycling none of whom behaved with any integrity whatsoever: quite simply there was no lawful reason for any of the bodies or the team to pull him from the tour, indeed in the light of all knowledge available up to the start, they had cleared him to ride - he was tried by media after selective leaking of confidential information clearly intended to harm him, and when found guilty by media only , pressure was put on Rabobank to withdraw him outside any judicial system or fair hearing. Nothing to do with the rules.

I know. They were rhetorical questions in answer to someone else's post.
 
mountainrman said:
I shall use the word "warning" and "actual infraction" to discriminate the stages of process - because the words they use "written" and "recorded" do not convey the severity of the two events.

Read the book - the rules of the time were he had to have three actual infractions from a single agency: he did not - he was cleared to ride the TdF , and moreover had been given a fine by his team for the infractions, so it was clear they knew the score, and also where he was, at the time they claimed they did not know.

Indeed the first "infraction" in 2006 for the danish agency was only a "warning" although wrongfully treated as an "infraction". For most riders the "warnings" after reasonable explanation (like travelled to a race a day early) never translated to infraction, but always did for Rasmussen, despite the fact his explanations were the same being given by other riders.

Two later "infractions" from the two different agencies referrered to the same actual period , so should have only counted as one "infraction" on clear legal principle..

There was nothing in the rulebook at all, that allowed them to exclude him from the race when already cleared to do so. Indeed the entire storm blew up because of clear breech of confidentiality by UCI regarding the rider whereabouts system, someone seemed to have planted the story on the basis of that privileged knowledge deliberately.


Only in Ramussens case did they add up (dodgy) claims of infraction from two different agencies to arrive at the magic 3 needed to execute any sanction - arguably only two had merit, and even had they been valid 3 he might reasonably have expected a 6 month sanction, rather than the 2 years executed - then extended to life by the unfair blacklisting.

It makes horrible reading and mockery of the idea that there is justice of any form.

And so on and so forth.

In short the danish federation seemed determined to "get him" by any means possible, using creative interpretation of rules. and then UCI did their best to blacklist him after that. Which is wholly in contravention of the ethos of keeping to a set of rules - which should be a two way obligation as binding on the agencies as it was on the riders. Not so. The agencies made up the rules to suit them.

The point I have made on the armstrong thread (which has earned me titles of armstrong supporter, which iscertainly not the case) is that cycling justice must be based on rules which are unambiguous and applied impartially - which means inevitably outside federation jurisdiction.

It should also be confidential, with no leaks from UCI until all appeals are heard to ensure fair hearing - not as they did to Bruyneel - dump the entire prosecution case without a hint of fair evaluation of evidence into the public domain for trial by media before an appeal. It is errant nonsense to leave Riis with his TDF title when admitting doping, and stripping armstrong for example.

And so on...

I have always considered athletics and cycling "justice" to be arbitrary, more about "who likes you" than the facts of the case, and the Rasmussen case reinforced it for me at the time. This book tells me a lot I did not know in addition to the obvious injustice suffered by Rasmussen.

Thanks for this response - really interesting stuff. I certainly would like to read the book - I'm absolutely happy to believe that in the corrupt world of cycling that there is completely arbitrary justice.

I guess the point I was trying to make was that even if a system stinks, I can't have too much sympathy for a guilty person who falls victim of that system. (Notwithstanding that perhaps it turns out he wasn't actually guilty, in which case this is my misunderstanding) Though on the other hand I do take your points about justice/due process etc.
 
But yeah. Just to clarify - my earlier question. If he didn't break any rules (which seems to be the claim of the book) why did he subsequently get banned, and why did CAS (which is presumably a step away from the stuff going on with cycling agencies in 2007) uphold the ban?

As I say, this isn't rhetorical to try and prove some point or other, I'm genuinely interested in the answers.
 
fmk_RoI said:
Because he got a third whereabouts strike from UCI, for having mis-filed his deets. Ras to run the prosecution of that down to the wire, so it would time out, but UCI won in end.

This sounds to me then that he was guilty of breaking the rules. So should I assume that if proper due process had been followed to the letter then a more just resolution would be that he would have completed the tour (probably winning it) and then subsequently been banned and had his title stripped following the investigation into his third strike?

In which case the original flaw in his sense of victimhood remains for me - if he hadn't been dodging tests and saying he was in Mexico when he was really in Italy, then he wouldn't have had any problems.
 
Oct 25, 2012
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Some more interesting background about why the UCI seemed so bothered is that they were trying to undermine ASO, and what better way to do so than to have a doping scandal right in the middle of the tour?

Its also interesting that it was prompted by the Danish branch (DCU), when his rider registration was held in Monaco.

There are some very underhand things that went on in Rasmussens case. I seem to have a vague memory of one strike counting twice or something like that as well?

It disturbs me greatly that Leipheimer and Contador were the "clean" alternatives that year.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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RownhamHill said:
This sounds to me then that he was guilty of breaking the rules. So should I assume that if proper due process had been followed to the letter then a more just resolution would be that he would have completed the tour (probably winning it) and then subsequently been banned and had his title stripped following the investigation into his third strike?

In which case the original flaw in his sense of victimhood remains for me - if he hadn't been dodging tests and saying he was in Mexico when he was really in Italy, then he wouldn't have had any problems.

You're going to go that far down the road without reading the book or even a book review? I need to bookmark this for next time you have a go at me for not having all the facts or evidence at hand for Brad's doping...
 
Dear Wiggo said:
You're going to go that far down the road without reading the book or even a book review? I need to bookmark this for next time you have a go at me for not having all the facts or evidence at hand for Brad's doping...

H'mm. From the answer given it did sound to me as if that would be the case. And as it happened after I posted that response I went to read the book review (which I think, it turns out, I'd also read a couple of months ago, and had informed my vague recollections. . .) (Oh, and thanks for flagging it up fmk_rol, appreciate the review, very nicely put together).

Anyway the salient part about what would have been a just outcome - from the review:

But that proved to be the least of the problems Rasmussen caused for himself that day.

In explaining the missed test from ADD and his second late-filing error with the UCI, Rasmussen made reference to the fact that he had been training in Mexico. . .

. . . The problem with the Mexico story though was that, earlier in the race, Italian commentator and former pro Davide Cassani had made a reference to having seen Rasmussen training in Italy, Cassani making the point that Rasmussen was taking his preparation for the Tour seriously. Rasmussen was now saying that, at the time Cassani said he saw Rasmussen in Italy, he was actually in Mexico. When a Danish journalist, DR's Niels Christian, got Cassani to go on the record with his sighting of the Dane in the Dolomites Rasmussen's goose was well and truly cooked.

. . .

Four months later the UCI issued Rasmussen with a written warning concerning incorrect whereabouts information for the period June 21-29. Early in January 2008 that became a recorded warning. The Chicken now had three strikes against him from the UCI and consequently won a two year suspension as the booby prize.

So. Yeah. It does sound to me, that after Rasmussen claimed to be in Mexico in that part of June (incidentally to answer your earlier rhetorical question, I guess this shows it wasn't 'magic how it 'emerged' after all), and after someone contradicted that publicly, then for justice to be served he should have remained in the race pending and investigation, and then been banned and stripped of this title after the investigation found him guilty of a third whereabouts violation. (And yes, we know the subsequent investigation would have found him guilty and banned him because, ermm, it happened and it did.)

I'm really struggling here. What is exactly controversial about the facts of what happened? The guy was playing games with his whereabouts (aka cheating). The guy was stitched up a bit by the authorities. The guy got caught lying in a press conference (a press conference FFS!). The guy got stitched up a lot by his team. The guy finally got banned. That is my understanding - an understanding that has been clarified through posts here this morning (thanks to other posters, who actually seem to be able to have a conversation) but not changed in terms of the broad narrative of it. Is your understanding different? Do you think he wouldn't have subsequently been banned had he not been withdrawn from the race? And if so, why? (Again, these are real questions because I'm interested in an exchange of ideas)

There is an interesting conversation, in my opinion, about the level of sympathy we should have for Rasmussen given the above. Maybe I'm harsh on him. I don't know. Why not engage with the substance of the conversation, or try and clarify points (as others have done here) rather than asking a load of rhetorical questions to try and prove, well prove what exactly?

But yeah, feel free to 'bookmark' the previous post if that's what makes you happy. . .