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Tour de France Goes on Without Yellow Jersey
By Staff
Date: 7/25/2007
Tour de France Goes on Without Yellow Jersey

Tour de France Goes on Without Yellow Jersey
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 team.

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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