Taiwan Cup 2012, Rabobank, and Doping in Cycling

by Glenn Reeves on October 21, 2012

So Rabobank have had quite enough of professional cycling and have pulled the plug. A classic “aha” moment for sure, although “WTF are we doing in this circus” is probably what you would have heard as a a fly on the wall of the boardroom.

And it’s just one of  a few boardrooms that have been busy lately. For Trek and Nike, it was all a foregone conclusion.

Several lower-profile Rabobank riders were brought out to compete in the first Taiwan Cup held in November last year.

The Rabobank boys were looking sharp for photos. Carlos Barredo (far left) is now under UCI investigation for an irregular biological passport. G’luck dude.

Carlos Barredo, Tom Leezer, Wilco Kelderman, and Melvin Boskamp were the flavor of the weekend. They were later than the other teams to make an appearance on the sunny Saturday before Sunday’s main event.

Most of the others had breakfasted and headed out for a light tour of Hualien before making a leisurely Saturday afternoon of it. Nobody had really paid them much attention. But once the Rabobank squad appeared, it was as if the sun had got just a bit brighter.

The Rabobank boys were bailed up at the front of the Hotel for at least 5 minutes of group photos. The guys eventually made their escape leaving swooning fans in recovery mode behind them.

Come the Taiwan Cup main event itself,  quite a bit of butt-kicking went down over the 200km circuit, Rabobank butt that is.

Tom, Wilco and Melvin made it over the line a long way short of where they should have been. Carlos Barredo was the only one in the team to make good time placing just out of the top 10 overall.

Now, it appears that Senor Barredo may well be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The news broke late last week that Carlos is to be investigated for biological passport irregularities.

He has, of course been on the UCI’s “suspicion list” from early in the summer. Having sweated it out into the Fall, it looks like the game may well be up for him.

If Taiwan is the world’s bicycle kingdom then this is the King. Giant’s King Liu was walking around enjoying every minute of his inaugural Taiwan Cup.

Giant chairman, King Liu, had plenty to be happy about as he strolled around the finish as the laggards straggled in. Half of them were randomly directed into a drug control for a urine sample and it seems like nobody has been called out from that as we head into the 2nd Taiwan Cup later this month.

This year’s event will feature much a much higher tier of cyclist. Matteo Rabottini, Farnese Vini – Sella Italia; Anthony Charteau, Team Europcar; and Jeremy Ro of FDJ-BigMat will be the pro cyclists to make the sun shine quite a bit brighter this time around.

Thinking positively is the only way to proceed in life notwithstanding a positive doping test sort of positive, although you have to be a cynic and wonder when the next one will come.

Akai was the man of the moment for the local press last year despite his 3rd place. He could barely catch his breath as the questions were fired at him from all sides.

Stow the thought.  Rabobank are history and we are looking to the future.

A lot of us are looking to local hero Akai to give the European-based pros in the run up the mountain for the 2012 Taiwan Cup. So don’t get to comfortable on the front (although the last few km of the climb will take care of that!). The countdown is on.

Bring it on.

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