NewsTour de France leader Rasmussen dropped from Danish National Team

FasterSkier FasterSkierJuly 20, 2007

Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen has been dropped from the Danish National Team due to a disagreement over drug testing. Rasmussen has not tested positive for any banned substance, but the director of the Danish Cycling Union (DCU) Jesper Worre told DR1 television station that Rasmussen has received a number of warnings for failing to inform doping authorities of his training whereabouts. Additionally, the New York Times reports that the Team Rabobank rider has missed two drug tests since May, and that he has been warned that he could be suspended if he misses another. The International Cycling Union (UCI) considers three missed tests within 18 months a failed test, which would result in a two-year suspension. The missed tests are apparently a result of the lack of disclosure of training locations.

“We consider this case with great seriousness and the executive of the DCU decided that Michael will no longer be part of the national team and he was informed of this on June 26,” said Worre. Rasmussen admits to missing the tests and that he received a warning. He also claims he is one of many riders to be warned for similar infractions, and both he and Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour, have questioned the timing of the announcement by the DCU and UCI. Rasmussen has retaliated against the DCU by stating that he will boycott August’s Tour of Denmark. VeloNews quotes him as saying “I cannot take part in a race arranged by an organization which looks to thwart me in this way.”

The UCI noted the decision by the DCU and states “The UCI respects this decision, since a National Federation has the jurisdiction to decide whether an athlete should be selected for a national team.” Furthermore, the UCI has reiterated that Rasmussen is free to compete in professional cycling races. “In accordance with the UCI anti-doping rules, the breach committed by Rasmussen with regard to the obligation of riders to provide information on their whereabouts, has not resulted in disciplinary proceedings being taken against Michael Rasmussen.”

Rasmussen currently holds both overall leader’s Yellow jersey, and the Polkadot jersey for Mountain stages. He was victorious in the eighth stage, and 6th in the ninth stage.

Read additional coverage in The New York Times and at VeloNews.com.

Sources: International Cycling Union, The New York Times, VeloNews

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