Rasmussen Expelled From Tour
Written by therock67
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
As if the Tour de France did not have enough controversy over the past few days the leader overall on General Classification Michael Rasmussen has been expelled from the race by his team Rabobank. The Dutch team conducted investigations into the doping speculation that surrounded Rasmussen and have opted tonight to sensationally kick him out of their team and by extension out of this year’s Tour de France.
The Danish rider has been subjected to a grilling in the media since the Danish Cycling Union removed him from their team due to consecutive missed doping tests. Rasmussen had claimed he was out of contact in Mexico at the time and labelled the incident an “administrative mistake” as opposed to a deliberate avoidance of the tests.
However Rabobank have since learned that Rasmussen lied to them concerning his whereabouts in June during those disputed absences and citing a breach of team discipline have decided to expel the climbing specialist from their team. Obviously a mere failure to adhere to standard protocol would not normally result in an expulsion - especially with an overall victory in the Tour on the cards. The early indication appears to be that Rasmussen was spotted in the Dolomites (a section of the Italian Alps) during the time he claims to have been in Mexico.
The news follows what seemed a potentially decisive day in the Pyrenees when Rasmussen and his team-mates chased down a potentially dangerous break featuring Carlos Sastre, the rider who is fifth overall in the race. Near the finish Rasmussen was able to match all the attacks by the second placed rider, Alberto Contador, and put in a break of his own to gain a further 45 second advantage over the young Spaniard.
After Vinokourov’s positive test after Saturday’s time trial the Tour is again stripped of one of its biggest names. What the other riders will make of this news will be telling because there appears to be a growing sense of disillusionment among those who feel the sport is being tarnished by their colleagues’ actions. Linus Gerdemann was positively raging at the behaviour of his team-mate Sinkewitz, Mark Cavendish has called for prison sentences for dopers and below is David Millar’s reaction to Paul Kimmage and others on learning of Vinokourov’s failed test.