Tour de France: Yellow jersey Rasmussen withdrawn

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Michael Rasmussen
A UCI whereabouts-form
(Image missing locally: image; log)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Current yellow jersey, Michael Rasmussen has been withdrawn from the 2007 Tour de France by his team Rabobank for lying to the team about his whereabouts in June, saying he was in Mexico while he was, in fact, in Italy. An Italian Tour de France commentator mentioned he had met Rasmussen in June on a training camp in Italy.

It has been reported that the hotel, where Rabobank's team was staying, was raided and searched late Wednesday by the police. There is no word on whether the search turned up anything.

Rasmussen had come under heavy fire for having received four warnings from cycling authorities before the race, because of him failing to inform about his whereabouts.

Before today's stage, which he won, Rasmussen said: "I want to make absolutely clear I've had out-of-competition tests prior to the Tour de France, 14 tests during the Tour and all the results are negative ... I do support my team in the fight against doping and [for] a clean sport."

"Michael Rasmussen has been sent home for violating the team's internal rules," said Rabobank spokesman Jacob Bergsma.

According to Danish news channel TV 2 News, the rest of the Rabobank team will be allowed to finish the race if they wish to do so. TV 2 News also says Rasmussen has left Rabobank's hotel.

Davide Cassani, a former Tour de France cyclist and now a TV commentator for Italy, said that he had seen Rasmussen in the Dolomites area of the Alps on both June 13 and 14, 2007. Rasmussen had filed information with his team that he was in Mexico from June 4 through June 26.


We cannot say that Rasmussen cheated, but his flippancy and his lies on his whereabouts had become unbearable.
Christian Prudhomme, general director of the Tour de France
The team decided to pull him out; that's their prerogative. I can only applaud that. It's a zero-tolerance policy, and it's a lesson for the future
It's in no way a celebration on our end. It's the third piece of bad news. It reflects badly on our sport.
— P.J. Rabice, spokesperson for Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
It's a sad day for the cycling sport. I feel sorry for Michael Rasmussen. But most of all I feel sorry for the sport. Another yellow jersey has been discredited, for the second year in a row. It is terrible.
— Lars Bonde, coach of the Danish national cycling team
I'm not angry with Rasmussen, but with the situation. I think there are worse things in life than what he did. His life is ruined and he will never get a job as a cyclist again. For me as well, this is a reason to do something completely different.