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Rabobank team etiquette

The entire 2009 Rabobank squad faces severe fines for misbehaving

The entire 2009 Rabobank squad faces severe fines for misbehaving (Image credit: Bert Geerts)

Team Rabobank riders are going to have to toe the line this season or pay the price - and the riders are not happy about it. The Dutch ProTour team published a list of violations and penalties, ranging from warnings to dismissals.

"We are being treated like children and not as top athletes," one rider, who wished to remain anonymous, griped to telegraaf.nl.

Another anonymous rider told sportweek.nl, "We accept that the anti-doping rules are strict. But our concerns now are especially with the other matters, which are simply absurd. I don't think that this is the way for adults to treat each other. It doesn't help the unity within the team at all."

A rider could also be fined 1,000 euro for having taken a training ride without his helmet.

The violations include not wearing a helmet, missing a flight, unauthorized guests in hotel room, speaking to the media without permission or giving detrimental information about the team. It also includes larger problems such as an official UCI warning or testing positive for the use of party drugs, the latter bringing about instant dismissal.

The punishments range from a warning for a first violation on the minor charges, with penalties increased up to four violations. A rider who misses a flight must pay for the flight himself, for example. More missed flights carry penalties of up to 5,000 Euro.

The fines are also based on the rider's income. Those earning more than 350,000 Euro per year face higher penalties.

Sport Director Erik Breukink defended the scheme. "The many new rules in cycling force the riders to carry more responsibility. Some don't see that and that makes problems. The behaviour of an individual has an enormous influence on the image of the team. Some people still need to get used to that idea."(SW)

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