A Clean La Vuelta? I hope so, but let’s look at the facts:
The Spanish sports papers quote Oscar Freire; “Rabobank want a stage win in Holland” and I’m sure all the other teams want the same, but the Dutch bank have spent a lot of money bringing La Vuelta a España to Holland for the race start.
After the Rasmussen debacle I’m sure Rabobank are clean, but is this the kind of pressure a sponsor should put on its riders?
Does this put temptation in their way, or just spur them on to more efforts?
What about the riders on the start line in Assen?
There are a few dubious characters; the obvious ones must be Alexander Vinocourov and Ivan Basso, both just back from suspension and wanting to prove something, Frank Schleck: visited Dr. Fuentes and handed over money, the admitted EPO user David Millar, cocaine abuser Tom Boonen, and the banned-in-Italy and waiting UCI judgement Alejandro Valverde. Have I missed anyone? Probably!
Behind the scenes there are a few Team Directors with dubious pasts: which I’m sure you all remember; whilst even on TV we have Perico Delgado who won the Tour de France whilst taking a masking agent (probenicid) which was banned by the IOC (but not by the UCI at that time).
I hope all that is behind us and the scandals are over for the sake of the sport we all love!