What's Cool In Road Cycling

Raimondas Dumbass Suspended Again: Will He Ever Learn?

Yesterday’s ‘shock news’ that Raimondas Rumsas has been suspended by his Italian team, Lampre, after an illegal substance resulted in a non-negative drug test at the recent Giro d’ Italia has been greeted with waves of told-you-so apathy by most of the Euro-dogs who follow the sport.

Not so his bosses, who’ve reacted with a now familiar mix of fury and dismay. The great ‘Beppe’ Saronni who manages Lampre was quoted by Italy’s ANSA news agency as saying: “We feel betrayed in the trust we had in him. He is suspended for now, but if the second sample confirms the findings, he will no longer be riding for us.”

Saronni went on to state that everyone on the squad, especially the staff, who had tried to get over last year’s post-Tour disaster, was “very bitter”. Those of you with reasonable memories will recall that rather than celebrate her husband’s podium finish in Paris, Edita Rumsas was busted nipping across the French border with what appeared at first glance to be a mobile pharmacy in her car.

At the time, the line given was that Rumsas had finished 3rd legitimately, and that any substances found were for Edita’s sick mother in Lithuania. As he had passed all dope tests at the time, no action could be taken and his first Lampre suspension was lifted. He’s never returned to France, though, as his wife spent months incarcerated for her part in the ‘affair’.

Officially, Lampre were a little more circumspect and less emotional than Saronni, indicating in their official statement to the press that: “The team management is saddened (by the news) especially after putting their faith in Rumsas after the events related to the 2002 Tour de France. We had decided to put our faith in Rumsas in the hope that he could prove his honesty and professionalism.”

Now, it looks like all of his results and achievements will count for very little, with several sources indicating that the substance in question is, indeed, EPO. The test was taken after the Giro’s 6th stage between Maddaloni and Avezzano. Rumsas came home 29th that day behind stage winner Alessandro Petacchi, and eventually climbed to a 6th place finish overall.

Speaking to the Lietuvos Rytas newspaper after finishing the Giro, Raimondas claimed that his 6th place had been “satisfactory”, and that his role in the Giro had been to help Casagrande, but that this changed when his Italian leader faltered. He went on to say that the Lampre bosses hadn’t been too impressed with Casagrande’s failure and eventual abandon. Hardly anyone reckons they’ll be that bothered about it now.

Everyone deserves a second chance, and there shouldn’t, in an ideal world, be outright condemnation until all the facts come out. But it now looks like Rumsas has flown too close to the sun once too often.

Obviously, no more action will be taken until the results of the B sample are made known; that should be completed towards the end of the month.

Oh, and one other question remains: Raimondas – how is your mother-in-law these days?

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