Are Rabobank using Lance as an excuse?

With the main Dutch pro team gone... who is really to blame?

by jimmythecuckoo   October 19, 2012  

Lance Armstrong - Tour Down Under 09

And so Rabobank pro cycling team is no more.

The Dutch pro team ends over a decade of involvement at 1030 am this morning when the announcement leaked overnight is confirmed.

Citing the USADA statement as reason to quit the sport at professional level is topical for sure. But is it a convenient smokescreen to save the bank some of its vital marketing Euros at this time?

Is Lance Armstrong to blame for the demise of the team ? or could under achieving stars such as Robert Gesink, whose inability to stay on two wheels for an entire race has deprived them of results and therefore ROI (return on investment) for their money?

I think its a combination of both rather than just a Lance/drugs decision.

An underperforming mega bucks team has seen a window of opportunity to leave the sport whilst retaining the moral high ground.

 

 

I wonder if Bauke Mollema would join Fenland Clarion if we could afford him...

 

Updated with Rababank Cycling statement...

"The Rabobank cycling team regrets Rabobank’s decision to stop its sponsorship of the men’s professional cycling team. The team was informed about the reasons and understands the 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," the team said in a statement.

"The cycling team is very grateful to Rabobank for the 17 years of loyal sponsorship. The sport of cycling should be grateful to Rabobank for all the efforts it has made in the past years to put Dutch cycling on the map successfully. Through Rabobank, many talents have had the chance to reach their potential.

"We are confident that Rabobank will take good care of the cyclists and staff members of Rabobank Wielerploegen BV in the finalisation of this matter."

19 user comments

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Maybe it also is looking ahead to the results of the Padova Magistrate's Ferrari network investigation also?

Sudor

posted by Sudor [183 posts]
19th October 2012 - 8:04

2 Likes

The Tsunami of evidence as it's being called?

Could be.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1279 posts]
19th October 2012 - 8:06

3 Likes

Yes. If they wanted to make a positive statement to their shareholders they could have insisted the team issues a new rider recruitment policy/no needle policy/gets rid of staff with potential future charges hanging over them. In other words, be more like Garmin. I'm certain the latter have (as both a team and sponsor) gained a fair amount of positive PR and goodwill over the course of the last month or so. Rabobank could have made a positive statement but chose to walk.

Perhaps if they really wanted to improve their image they could lose the last syllable of their name?

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [563 posts]
19th October 2012 - 8:28

3 Likes

As my Wife has just pointed out... if they wanted to quit the sport using drugs as an excuse, why not go when Michael Rasmussen tested positive?

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1279 posts]
19th October 2012 - 8:31

2 Likes

Quick, buy one of the jerseys and it'll be cool to wear it in 2014!

Given how the LA report can be used to actually highlight how the sport is changing, it doesn't feel like a completely honest reason. As pointed out above, they could have just issued a 'clean team' policy. Rabo haven't been the cleanest themselves.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3355 posts]
19th October 2012 - 8:37

5 Likes

Is anyone going to try to rabble-rouse rabobank's customer-owners? It is a cooperative, after all, so there should be some democracy there.

posted by a.jumper [711 posts]
19th October 2012 - 9:03

2 Likes

...and so the team continues in plain kit for 2013.

Wonder if they will sport the road.cc logo if we chuck them a tenner?

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1279 posts]
19th October 2012 - 9:12

2 Likes

Perhaps unwittingly the message they may appear to be sending by this decision is ...

"Whilst we've been willing to put up with it until now, we're not interested in being around to help clean up the sport & help it develop in a positive way in the new era which is looking to eradicate the use of drugs in cycling" ... is that a good message? Thinking

posted by d_jp [108 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:24

3 Likes

Not at all.

I don't think their decision is solely about drugs.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1279 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:35

5 Likes

Nor do I.

That's part of the reason I put my somewhat tongue-in-cheek "potential reading of their response"

posted by d_jp [108 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:53

3 Likes

Whilst we all know banks are not whiter then white, I think Rabobank had a responsibility to it's shareholders to distance themselves. It was not like that had a choice in this matter. If the managers continued in light of these revelations they could get personally sued for negligence. Not the bank alone but themselves personally. We may not like them but they are accountable.I think legally they had little choice in the matter. It is not exactly if the Dutch are not big into cycling. they are committed peeps.With the Italians going for gold, it will poison the chalice even more. They will bow out for now but be back let's face it their sponsorship really works for them.

I would say we all chip in and send LA to Mars for about 20 years Attach him to the new Mars probe. Out of sight out of mind:?

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
19th October 2012 - 12:04

4 Likes

considering the names Rabobank and Menchov are in the Italian dossier, maybe they are jumping before the $hit hits the fan properly.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1191 posts]
19th October 2012 - 12:06

4 Likes

I think the word that's missing is "underperforming"

*cough*

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2008 posts]
19th October 2012 - 12:06

2 Likes

I agree my Sudor & mrmo, Rabobank cycling team could of easily weathered the Armstrong/USADA storm (that is Armstrong/USPS not us, well not to that extent of doping), the Barrado issue (only one bad apple Wink

What is coming out of Italy right now, organised doping & tax evasion with the team (which was owned by the bank) involvement is a disaster for Rabobank the bank. Their only choice, cut the team loose now and say it is all the past, we want nothing to do with it, it is all old news and hope it goes away quickly

Which is a shame as the team had some great young male riders and the women's team which has no bad history was brilliant, would somebody tell me what Marianne Vos did not win last year.

posted by nickobec [260 posts]
19th October 2012 - 12:23

4 Likes

Simon E wrote:
I think the word that's missing is "underperforming"

*cough*

There will always be winners and losers hence the bonus system. Does not necessarily mean that they condone cheating. Yes! Rabo also involved in this mess. Remember cycling is not so much the winning but taking part. I may not be the fastest man on those leisure tours but I feel a million dollars afterwards for trying without the LA affect. Big Grin

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
19th October 2012 - 12:39

3 Likes

Seoige wrote:
Remember cycling is not so much the winning but taking part.

For you, maybe, but not for multi-million Euro sponsors, for teams, DS and riders. "Taking part" sees your dropped out of the WorldTour pretty sharpish. You might like to ask the ex-Euskaltel Basque riders about that.

Lance is not the only guilty party in this whole sorry mess, as we will see presently.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2008 posts]
19th October 2012 - 14:08

3 Likes

notfastenough wrote:
Given how the LA report can be used to actually highlight how the sport is changing, it doesn't feel like a completely honest reason.

Only when the UCI tell us their thoughts on Monday will we really know whether the sport is changing or not... Without clear direction towards reform from within the UCI I don't think the sport of cycling will ever genuinely change.

posted by fatty [74 posts]
20th October 2012 - 12:27

0 Likes

Simon E wrote:
Seoige wrote:
Remember cycling is not so much the winning but taking part.

For you, maybe, but not for multi-million Euro sponsors, for teams, DS and riders. "Taking part" sees your dropped out of the WorldTour pretty sharpish. You might like to ask the ex-Euskaltel Basque riders about that.

Lance is not the only guilty party in this whole sorry mess, as we will see presently.

Well unfortunately that is the norm in any competition on a regular playing field. However, I do not see how your argument tacidly justifies the promotion and use of drugs to obtain an unfair advantage. Irrespective of the commercial considerations! Are we to teach our children that we should win at all costs even if it means decimating our bodies. There will always be pressure at the higher etchelons and lord knows it is tough enough to cope with as it is. When we start introducing performance enhancing drugs into the equation, does this justify reducing the longevity and beauty of life for the glory of the twilights years. I think hard work and long hours training should be sufficient enough .Many Olympians have proven such!!

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
21st October 2012 - 12:26

3 Likes

agreed. Just win baby!

posted by dino [57 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 16:34

2 Likes