Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It ain't over yet

This just in: At 11 AM PST Sporza reported that Keisse won't be allowed to start in Rotterdam after all.

Tomorrow evening is the start of a track event known as the Zesdaagse van Rotterdam. The organizers of the event invited Iljo Keisse, who would team up with Kenny De Ketele. Keisse who has been embroiled in a long fight with UCI and WADA regarding a doping charge that started in 2008 was recently allowed to race by the Belgian High Court. He promptly went on to win on his home turf in Gent.

The final sprint to find the real winner

Later he raced in Zuerich, Switzerland, the official base of UCI. But when he tried to start in Manchester England a few weeks later, he was denied and UCI issued a statement that said the Belgian court decision applied to Belgium only. Nevertheless that did not stop the Dutch organizers from inviting Keisse for Rotterdam.

Now, two days before the start of the event, UCI has sent a letter to Frank Boelé, urging him not to let Keisse in. According to the Belgian paperHet Nieuwsblad, the letter does not explicitly forbid Keisse from starting, nor does it give a reason as to why he should not be allowed to take part. That has left Boelé in a bind. Rotterdam has a contract with Keisse and the organizers are not willing to break it without an explicit stop order from UCI. Once again the Keisse case is making headlines.

Former Belgian track star Patrick Sercu, who is responsible for selecting the teams in Rotterdam called it "an especially sad affair." He could not have picked better words in my opinion. The press recently called it the new vaudeville.

Patrick Sercu in the glory days

Sercu is also involved in the organization for the Bremen event that is coming up soon. He was quoted as saying,"We have not heard anything from UCI yet. It will come, I fear. I no longer understand it. Thursday we start and I am still unsure who will ride with De Ketele. It is ludicrous."

Clearly neither UCI nor WADA appears to be very concerned about what the military euphemistically calls "collateral damage." Much like Donald Rumsfeld they understand that "war is messy."

In other news, Spanish superstar Oscar Pereiro, who won the Tour de France, after Floyd Landis was defrocked, was just yesterday cleared of his own doping allegations. An Italian newspaper, no doubt upset that no Italian was available to take the Landis slot, had linked Pereiro to Operacion Puerto. They had even identified his codename. It does not get any better than this.

Rummy explaining the inexplicable

When it comes to doping, perhaps no other statement so beautifully captures what the dope hunters are trying to achieve as this Rummy quote regarding weapons of mass destruction.

He said, "There is another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something does exist does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn't exist."

Oscar, who has since left cycling and is now a pro soccer player, found the whole affair rather silly and said with respect to his code name, "what a disappointment!"

And in other news, the Spanish Federation probably won't make a decision in the Contador affair until mid-February.  You may know that manager Riis selected Contador for the Tour of Murcia in March. No doubt the Spanish Federation, taking a clue from UCI,  wants to keep the suspense going until the last possible moment.

Meanwhile, as NPR reported a month or so ago, the new US drug Czar has quietly given up on "the war on drugs." "We no longer use the phrase," he said in a statement that is reminiscent of companies making deals with prosecutors without admitting any wrongdoing.

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