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.