Cycle of Silence

Following the publication of the USADA report into routine doping in the world of professional cycling, Dutch firm Rabobank has announced its decision to stop sponsoring a professional cycling team from the end of this year. Rabobank has said it will continue its ties with amateur cycling as a sponsor, including the youth training and the cyclocross team.

Current pro cyclist David Millar (who has himself served a ban for doping) has lambasted the bank for their decision, calling it ‘sickening.’ He’s gone on to publish an open letter to the bank in which states he believes it is the ‘duty’ of Rabobank and others, to stand by the sport. I think Millar is plain wrong on this. It’s not his job to try and coerce anyone to pay money to keep the sport going. Rabobank can decide to sponsor whoever they wish or not and reap the benefits and suffer the consequences accordingly. Personally I think a total collapse in sponsorship of the professional sport now could help in the long run – a total rebuild including a new professional body (because let’s face it the UCI aren’t coming out of this well at all) and a total removal of anyone found to cheat or have cheated.

Meanwhile Rabobank and others can continues to support the sport through investment in grass roots cycling, if they want to of course.

photo credit – the drawing above is by @BagOfGuts on Twitter. I love it, absolutely love it! I’ve approached the artist for permission to use the picture. I hope they will continue to let me do so. Fingers crossed.


Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

10 thoughts on “Cycle of Silence”

  1. Of course, David Millar doesn’t believe that the cheating attitudes of people like him have had anything to do with Rabobank puilling out does he? Rather than lambasting tham, he should be begging them for forgiveness. Cheating scumbag.

    What Mr goody-2-shoes Millar doesn’t clearly realise in his drug-addled little brain is that Rabobank don’t do sponsorship for love, they do it to get their brand in front of people to flog stuff. It’s a fair deal and companies tend to choose activities that reflect their own brand values (real of desired). I expect that Rabobank’s brand values do not include cheating and drug taking.

    Perhaps if David Millar had considered the impact he might having on his entire sport – from weekend biker through to professional – when he was smacking himself up, then he wouldn’t have to write whiny open letters.

    Dope ……….. in more ways than one!!

    1. Dope indeed. And yet for having the temerity to raise my concerns about this within the cycling club I belong to I’m called ‘seriously misguided’. Seems to me that even at the amateur level in the sport there is a reluctance to grasp the nettle sometimes.

        1. The comment was in response to my feelings about how a collapse in pro level sponsorship could help to bring about change. Hey ho – anybody want to buy a Livestrong armband..? No…OK then.

          1. Actually, that last comment is a really interesting one. Like many others, I was a huge Lance supporter and am pretty gutted / feel let down by his fall from grace.

            I have noticed though that Armstrong is keeping his drugs-bust and Livestrong very very separate. Though inextricably linked, his cycling activities and his fund-raising / cancer support activities are two seperate parts of Mr Armstrong’s life. It would be unfortunate in the least that good achieved through the latter activity is now destroyed – it will no doubt happen over time anyway but for now, I hope that Livestrong uses the assets and funds it has in a positive way.

            Given my previous response on supporters / sponsors wanting their brand values to be reflected in their activities, it will be interesting to see if Lance Armstrong resigning and distancing himself from the figurehead role of Livestrong will work …….. rebrand anyone?

          2. I believe Armstrong remains on the Livestrong board Chris – though I may be wrong, I often am. I think some distance between him and the good work this foundation can and does do, would probably be a good thing. Given how Armstrong is portrayed in the article by Ed Smith shared by Phil Codling elsewhere in these comments, I wonder if/when they may part company? Probably not too soon if LA has any say in the matter.

  2. did you catch the 5 live special the other week (called “Pushers”) Don’t like the presenter but content was really good. Depressing though (if you like watching cycling). O

  3. Hi Doug, interesting post and comments, on a highly unpleasant subject. I liked Ed Smith’s take :
    Armstrong’s fall from grace could be another nail in the coffin of American (ok Western) individualistic thinking…. the folly that says if you want it enough and focus hard enough, you can make it happen, you can shape the world and other people in the way that suits you and your goals – and that such an approach to life is positive, fulfilling and praise-worthy.

    1. Hello Phil – notwithstanding the subject matter on which we’re corresponding, it’s lovely to hear from you 🙂

      Thanks for sharing Ed Smith’s article – very interesting indeed. I prefer Joe Strummer’s philosophy of ‘Without People, You’re Nothing’ to the lone wolf type of thinking peddled by Armstrong.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *