Boys on bikes

The shit is really gonna hit the fan here . . .

Dane Michael Rasmussen had been leading the Tour de France for the past 10 days and was basically set to win the whole event.

But suspicions that he has been cheating had been growing and it seems that for one reason or another, his team felt those suspicions left them with little choice but to sack him.

It’s difficult to convey to readers back home how deeply ingrained cycling in all its forms is in the national psyche here.

Also, Denmark’s comparatively small size leads to a situation where individuals who make an impact on the world stage – either sporting or cultural – achieve almost God-like status here.

Danish cultural mores mean that those individuals, such as Rasmussen, are not viewed as superior or intrinsically more worthy than anyone else, but are instead celebrated for demonstrating Danish excellence abroad.

Rasmussen would not have been a popular winner of le Tour, but the Chicken, as he is known here, would nevertheless have struck a blow on the global stage for his compatriots.

Denmark is one big family. This will hit them hard.


5 Responses to “Boys on bikes”

  1. 1 CB July 26, 2007 at 7:04 am

    Very similar situation here in Finland. Someone insults a Finnish athlete and they’re in for it. Any Finn on the world stage is a big celebrity, and rightly so, I’m all for ‘bigging up’ this wonderful country. The Finns definitely share that pride in their sportspeople with the Danes.

    Wasn’t quite the same sense of pride when Tero Pitkamaki, the javelin thrower, speared an unsuspecting French long jumper in the back a few weeks ago!

  2. 2 belle80 July 26, 2007 at 8:04 am

    yes, I’ve already had two conversations this morning about Mr Rasmussen this morning, its on the tip of everyone’s tongue

  3. 3 aaron78 July 26, 2007 at 8:35 am

    CB, if Pitkamaki had been English he would have been hailed as a national hero! 😉

    Belle, it’s crazy… but le Tour was largely spoilt anyway. It’s the clean riders I feel sorry for. As for the Danes, they’ll get over it, they’re a pragmatic bunch!

  4. 4 Russell Quinn July 26, 2007 at 9:36 am

    And this all comes after the recent Bjarne Riis scandal (

    Incidentally Bjarne was known as “The Eagle”.. what is it with animal-themed nicknames and being a cheater? I think they should enter the national language as slang for their offences and then at least their careers wouldn’t be totally wasted.

    There was an interview on BBC Radio 4 this morning with someone saying that long distance cycling had always been like this and was effectively over as a sport. I forget who it was (the radio is my alarm clock, so I was still half asleep).

  5. 5 Casper July 26, 2007 at 9:42 am

    First of the two cyclists got their nicknames before they were deemed as cheaters. Bjarne got his because he was “flying” in the mountains and he was bald. Michael got his because he’s so small and skinny.

    But I think most people know that there was something rotten about Michael winning. I think it was a harder blow for people to realise about Bjarne, because everyone went CRAZY when he won back then. This time people were just waiting for the uncovering of the lies and doubts.

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