Riis confuses the message

A quick comment on Bjarne Riis. There’s no point commenting on every silly comment that appears but still, sometimes people say strange things and it’s worth a quick look…

Is that red wine?

I almost feel sorry for Riis. Almost. 2010 was a stinker of a year for him. He might have been delighted with Cancellara in the spring classics and Andy Schleck in the Tour,, but any joy evaporated with the exodus of his team into the new Leopard squad. After giving Frank Schleck the break that no one else did seeing his protégés quit had to hurt more than losing another ride. Worse, he then thought he’d bought the insurance contract of the century by hiring Contador and several of his cronies, only to see the Spaniard rumbled for clenbuterol. At the same time he had fire a public warning to Richie Porte and his agent.

Now 2011 could see him in hot water. Speaking to Reuters about Contador, Riis said:

“Clenbuterol has been found in his urine but the dose was insignificant. He didn’t win the Tour de France because of that. It’s strange that the substance appeared only once. For me, Contador isn’t guilty but McQuaid wants him to be suspended for solely political reasons.”

Steady Bjarne. The rulebook says any quantity of a banned substance means a suspension and likely ban. That’s not politics, it’s the basic rules applied by the UCI, WADA and almost every other sports governing body. Similarly, what’s going in Riis’s mind. Is it ok to dabble with a teeny bit of a banned substance, so long as the dose doesn’t give you too much of an advantage?

Plus the last time a DS said nasty things about the UCI, he copped a two month ban. Johan Bruyneel’s fit of pique on Twitter saw him get a two month ban from attending races. Riis is making hefty allegations about the UCI and their ability to handle the sensitive Contador case. Aigle won’t be happy.

7 thoughts on “Riis confuses the message”

  1. Wasn't Bruyneel banned for his team wearing silly jerseys without permission?

    The UCI included a statement of disapproval for his comments in his ban, but I think the ban was for the jersey stunt – not the post-stunt tweet.

    I don't the UCI can formally ban someone for saying something mean about them.

    Blackball… maybe…

  2. Anonymous+Paul: err, thanks. Cycling is a photogenic sport and sometimes some interesting images appear.

    Nick: it was the jerseys but the tweet prompted the action too. As for the formal ban, it can be done as there are some loose clauses about bringing the sport into disrepute etc. Saying McQuaid is personally on a political charge to ban a star rider is not a light accusation.

  3. 1. Who knows what the UCI will do, they are a completely random organization.
    2. Maybe Riis' attitude towards doping hasn't actually changed since his riding days, when he doped from 1993 to 1998.
    3. I wish I wasn't so cynical about cycling.

  4. Information in generel:
    BR is from a region in Demnark where silence is prior to words – and therefore often misunderstood when forced to speak. What he actually says, with the hand of his new media adviser up the treasury failing to put pressure on the UCI is, that he is utterly bitter about another Spaniard having cheated him of money again (remember I Sastre?) and that he still feels it extremely difficult to comply with the rules in generel, rules of any kind that is. Hope my translation/interpretation helps to better understanding of what he actually means. Might need to add that I am a spainsh based danish pasportholder.

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