Tour de Farce (France), Race Leader Michael Rasmussen Ordered Withdrawal By Sponsor (Missed Drug Testing)
The Tour de France has gone from yellow jersey to black eye to death nail. How much more embarrassment can this sport endure? One really needs to question the logic of allowing Rasmussen to compete in the first place if there were so many suspect issues preceding the race. The race leader sent packing as the Tour de France staggers into Paris amidst controversy again.
Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen was all but assured to win this years race after the his most recent win in the mountain climb stage. A sure win until he was asked to withdrawal by his team sponsor.
Some French newspapers declared the Tour dead Thursday and said it should be stopped after the bombshell announcement late Wednesday night that Rasmussen’s team was sending the Dane home for lying.
Team spokesman Jacob Bergsma said Rasmussen’s withdrawal was ordered by their sponsor, Rabobank. It was linked to “incorrect” information that Rasmussen gave to the team’s sports director over his whereabouts last month. Rasmussen missed random drug tests on May 8 and June 28, saying he was in Mexico. But a former rider, Davide Cassani, said he had seen Rasmussen in Italy in mid-June.
The remaining members of the team will still take the start on Thursday, Bergsma said.
Rasmussen had been the leader since July 15.
“My career is ruined,” he told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
Rabobank team leader Theo de Rooij makes the announcement
Rasmussen told the team leadership that he was training in Mexico in June but it eventually became clear that he was actually in Italy. As a result, he missed out-of-competition drugs tests, for which he received two warnings from the international cycling union UCI.
Under UCI rules, three warnings equal a violation of doping regulations. Over the past few weeks, Rasmussen has been tested for doping many times, but all tests came back negative. His departure means that the Spaniard Alberto Contador takes the lead with only four days remaining of the cycling event.