When Mark Renshaw was forced to look for a team following the collapse of HTC-Highroad at the end of 2011, Rabobank appeared to be a safe choice but given the evidence uncovered by the USADA report, it seems nothing is certain.
Renshaw, a new dad and back home in Australia, was shocked by Friday’s news that Rabobank was backing away from its position as a stalwart sponsor in cycling. It was a move that he didn’t see coming.
Renshaw was clearly struggling to take in the news concerned for his immediate future.
“I’m angry but.... I don’t know what I am,” he admitted to Cyclingnews, grappling with the events that were taking place back in Europe. “I’m probably not angry; I’m frustrated that it’s got to this point when it probably should have been cleared up a long time ago. Everything that’s going on is from the past which I had no part of.”
Back during Renshaw’s first seasons as a professional from 2004, he admits he felt the change in the peloton’s speed. At first he wasn’t quite sure what he was experiencing and while he didn’t race a Tour de France until 2008, he knew something was off.
“I just thought I was a fresh-legged track rider,” Renshaw said. “In the couple of years after that the sport has improved a lot and I think we need to look at that a bit more. The last few years have been some great racing and some clean racing I believe. It’s been a great sport but the demons of the past are coming back now.”
“I’ve never been offered it [performance-enhancing drugs] and I’ve never looked for it,” Renshaw stated. “Like many other riders I think this new era of cycling is a lot different to back then. I can confidently say that I want to participate in the sport for a long time to come.”
Renshaw’s own federation has become embroiled in the controversy, first with Matt White’s admission and sacking and today with Cycling Australia vice president Stephen Hodge resigning after revelations around his career in the 80s and 90s. Renshaw, who turns 30 next week, has eyed only the headlines. It’s not that he doesn’t want to know, it’s more that he’s frustrated that another era is having a direct consequence on his own career.
“I don’t know how we can fix it and I’m not sure where we can go from here,” he told Cyclingnews.
An amnesty is something he had given thought to as a solution however, with today’s events at Rabobank it’s given him reason for more thought.
“When I see what’s happening, an amnesty could force five other teams to stop when they find out like Rabobank that there was systematic doping,” Renshaw explained. “I don’t think the sponsors would be happy.”