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Daily Dope: Riis Returns

With Johan Bruyneel in limbo, Bjarne Riis becomes the star DS in Cycling (at least as long as Lefevre's season continues to wrap up before May 1). So when the CSC boss showed his brooding face at the Vuelta, VN's Andy Hood and others took notice. Some interesting quotes:

"I considered leaving the sport. It was a very difficult period for me, but I took my responsibility. Why should I quit? We have the best team in the world. We are on the right way and we're doing what we should do. I also have responsibility for 75 people who work for me and 75 families. Why should I throw that all away?"

I assume that his version of "considered leaving the sport" is right up there with how one might "consider" the offer of a free iPhone, or the email request to help an exiled Nigerian prince get his million bucks out of some bank. He thought about it, then went on with his business.

CSC is more than just a going concern in Cycling, it's a stable and very successful team. They're not without sin, but the existence of a leader who took EPO as a rider for another team shouldn't have a whole lotta bearing on CSC's future, IMHO. Riis doped because that's what Tour aspirants did then; it wasn't and still isn't acceptable, but at least now riders are on notice that the sport wants to go clean. In 1996? Nobody in the sport blinked an eye when a former domestique somehow rose to the summit in his latter years. Riis did what people do then, and the most you can expect from that generation is an admission and an apology -- which we received. Blackballing them from the sport serves no purpose and, IMHO, is a punishment beyond the crime.