Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rules and Rule Breaking: Cycling Edition

Bjarne Riis recently sent Andy Schleck and Stuart O'Grady home from the Vuelta becuase they had a drink after a stage.  From Riis' perspective
“It doesn’t matter if it was one drink or 10, or if he was out until five in the morning and that’s between us anyway, rules are made to be kept,” Riis told reporters after stage 10 of the Tour of Spain. “I’m not here to give any explanations or further details. What actually happened will stay between us.”
Slightly longer ago "Riis said he took EPO from 1993 until 1998, including the 1996 season when he won the Tour de France."

The question this raises falls somewhere along a line bounded on one end by hypocrisy and the other by either lacking self awareness or lacking historical perspective.  Maybe it's a triangle and not a line but you get the point.

In the comments section of the article on Scheck and O'Grady being sent home, some are arguing that it is utter Balzacs to suggest that Riis past failures means he can't enforce rules now.  True enough, I say; however, including some recognition of his past failures, for example: Rules are meant to be followed and I ought to know, I will forever regret the shadow my EPO use cast over my accomplishments, would have inoculated from this kinds of charges.  Relatedly, in  world as it actually exists, Riis' drug use and success consequent to that drug use aided him in becoming a DS and team owner.  It is, isn't it?, ironic that someone with that history chooses to now become a master of law and order, no?

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