Tour de France Goes on Without
Rasmussen fired by Rabobank. Cofidis pulls the plug on team.
By Bart Hazen
Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) was
removed from the Tour this evening on the direction of the Rabobank.
Rasmussen who won two stages, the stage to Tignes and the stage to the Aubisque,
broke with the internal rules of the team.
Rasmussen had lied about his whereabouts. “He said several
times to us where he was but it was all not true” said Theo de Rooij. In our
opinion this must have something to do with the thing Davide Cassani, reporter
of the Italian Television said today. He said “that he saw Michael Rasmussen in
Italy on the moment Michael said he was in Mexico”. Due to this he is fired by
Rabobank with immediate affect. Rabobank will decide tomorrow if they will have
the team start the race.
The French police also invaded in hotel of Rabobank but
it’s not sure if they found something or took anything to analyze. It’s not sure
if the other Rabobank riders will take the start in Pau tomorrow.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: "The
important thing is not that he has been sacked by his team but that he will not
be at the start of the stage tomorrow. We cannot say that Rasmussen cheated, but
his flippancy and his lies on his whereabouts had become unbearable. I at the
very least do not feel that I have been dishonoured." "One cannot mock the Tour
de France impunity like those riders. " Prudhomme added, referring to Rasmussen,
Moreni and Vinokourov.
UCI President McQuaid said: "My immediate reaction is why
didn't they do this at the end of June, when they had the same information? "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."
This morning the start was delayed by the six French and two German teams
competing in the Tour de France who protested against doping. Teams
Agritubel, AG2r, Francaise des Jeux, Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Credit Agricole,
Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile have formed the "Movement for a Credible Cycling."
They teams have asked for all the teams to abide by their good behavior charter
adopted in 2005. Under the charter, teams are requested to avoid fielding riders
implicated in doping affairs.
The end effect of the Rasmussen firing may mean that the team (like Astana
today) will not take the start tomorrow morning and they may be joined by the
Cofidis Pulls Team from Tour
Cofidis rocked by the report of a positive test for Critian Moreni after stage
11 look poised to pull their team from the tour this evening. Cofidis a member
of the "Movement for Credible Cycling" appears to taking their agreement to
heart with the action after Moreni was dismissed from the race after the finish
of the stage today. The sponsors of Cofidis immediately asked the team's sports
director, Eric Boyer, to pull his riders out before any decision had been made
by the race organizers
Boyer said they would forego their right to ask for analysis of a 'B' sample.
Boyer, who has been at the forefront of the fight against doping in the sport
since he took over the team in June 2005, said that Moreni confessed.
"I spoke to Moreni and he admitted to me straight away that he had used a
medicine that caused him to test positive for testosterone, at least he owned up
to that fact which is not what a lot of riders do," said Boyer.
The French police showed up after and did a search of the Cofidis team hotel.
more to come..
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