Rabobank Statement on Rasmussen
Rabobank is shocked and extremely disappointed that Rasmussen has lied about his whereabouts. As it turns out now, he was not in the place that he had filled in on his whereabouts papers and that he had handed in to the UCI, which he had already done too late. Rasmussen was rightly given a warning by the UCI for having been late with the handing in of his papers.
An incorrect notification of one's whereabouts is a flagrant violation of UCI regulations and unacceptable. Rabobank fully supports the decision of the Rabo cycling team management to directly withdraw Rasmussen from the race and to dismiss him on the spot. Rabobank understands that the morale of the riders is now so low that it is hard for them to decide whether they will start tomorrow. This development with regard to the Rabo cycling team is a black page in the history of the Rabo cycling plan. Rabobank is, as for now, not planning to withdraw from the sport of cycling as a sponsor. It will further deliberate on the situation that has unfolded.
Piet van Schijndel, a member of the board of directors and portfolio holder of the cycling plan, was shocked: "I thought the worst was behind us with that warning. That was already not good, but what is happening now makes me speechless. I just do not have any words for it. A nightmare. It is such a terribly beautiful sport and the team has worked so hard for it and than this happens. The team management made the only right decision. I fully support their choice. I have a lot of respect for the riders and I understand their disappointment. We are going to further deliberate on what are going to do now, but I am sure about one thing: Rabobank will continue to be involved in the broad development of the cycling sport."
Heleen Crielaard, the head of sponsoring for the Rabobank, was also dumbfounded: "A black day. I feel powerless and actually angry too. The team has worked so hard and all the people at the sponsoring department of the bank as well. All those people are let down by the captain in such a terrible fashion. I particularly sympathize with Michael Boogerd. That this has to happen during your last Tour. Of course, this is also a major setback for the Rabobank. We were already preparing a party in case we would win the yellow in Paris. Unfortunately, that is not what is going to happen and additionally, it occurred in such an unsportsmanlike manner. I think it is very sad because it is just absolutely not typical for the Rabobank."