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Opinion

Saxo Bank: Why be good if you can be lucky?

Professional cycling is a sport that has a long association with doping. In reality, it is probably no worse than any other and its fans will tell you it has done more to clean its tarnished image than those sports that are not regarded with such suspicion.

CSC-Saxo Bank was at the head of the peloton, because one of its riders, the diminutive Carlos Sastre, was wearing the coveted maillot jaune and was about to win the race
CSC-Saxo Bank was at the head of the peloton, because one of its riders, the diminutive Carlos Sastre, was wearing the coveted maillot jaune and was about to win the race

Still, Saxo Bank’s decision to add its name to the sponsorship of Team CSC in early June will be widely viewed as either a brave or foolish move. The team is owned and managed by 1996 Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis, who, unlike most of those of his peers who are equally guilty, has had the courage to admit that he did resort to using performance-enhancing drugs.

Those who know him are convinced that Riis is a genuine poacher turned gamekeeper. Team CSC-Saxo Bank has one of the strictest anti-doping policies in cycling and its riders have a strong sense of discipline and camaraderie. Riis’s policies all paid off when this year’s Tour de France rode to its conclusion in Paris on July 27.

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