Yesterday’s Men

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Whilst everyone is entitled to a second or even a third chance, sport is a cruel place. If you can’t compete, you’re out.

Looking at the past

So I’m left surprised when I read about the likes of Rasmussen and Rebellin. Both these two riders have been busted for doping but they also share another thing: age. The Dane is 36 and the Italian is 39.

Any team thinking about hiring a rider in this case needs to think carefully, after all if the rider in question was delivering results thanks to doping, how can they return and deliver results when clean? Also, how can such an old rider make a comeback. Even in younger cases like Ivan Basso, it took the best part of a full season for the rider to get back, replicating racing in training simply does not work as well. Rebellin will be 40 soon.

At the same time today I read that talented riders Paul Voss and Alexander Wetterhall are headed for Endura Racing. It’s great to hear these guys have a ride but let’s be frank, Endura isn’t the big league. Something is not right when young talent struggles to find a job yet Rebellin claims to be browsing job offers.

Clearly 2011 will begin with many neo-pros in the bunch but at the same time, any team that considers hiring a rider in their late thirties with a history of doping is sending a loud signal about their view of the sport.

Jay T. November 18, 2010 at 7:16 am

Maybe it's the interest in seeing whether these disgraced and aging riders can still make something of their careers? I admit that watching Lance, Vino, et al has been interesting…

Perhaps it's just representative of our world in general now. A lot of milestones have been pushed back, including retirement. I suspect that in years past, these guys would mostly be retired. Seems that 32-35 was pretty much quittin' time for a lot of champions, including Indurain, The Badger, Fignon, LeMond, Herrera, and even Armstrong himself (temporarily). Though of course racers like Bartali and Poulidor do spring to mind who kept racing till their 40s.

If there's a sport where guys could still be competitive into a later age, it's certainly cycling, but hard to see how 36 year old dopers could be taking the contracts of promising 24 year olds… A lot of the older guys seem to say that it's not the body, it's the mind, and that motivation is really the limiting factor. I'm sure there's a lot of truth in that, so if nothing else, I guess we'll get to see what the ol' farts can do next year!

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