Rasmussen to sue Rabobank

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18.12.2007/ Michael Rasmussen announced the Dutch Rabobank team. The announcement does not come as a surprise, as Rasmussen already told reporters in November that there would be either a settlement or he would sue his former team. 

Copyright Heinz Zwicky
Michael Rasmussen hired 2 Dutch lawyers......(picture: Heinz Zwicky)

On July 25 Rasmussen was sacked by the Rabobank team after the team had taken the 33 year old Danish rider out of this years Tour de France while he was leading the general classification. At that time former team manager Theo De Rooij said that Rasmussen had lied to the team about his whereabouts. Rasmussen insists that he lied to the UCI but not to his former team. De Rooij resigned after the Tour.

In an exclusive interview on December 1 with Dutch daily newspaper 'De telegraaf' Rasmussen spoke about his conflict with the Rabobank squad. Rasmussen said: We booked the plane tickets for the training camp in the Pyrenees [which took place at the end of June] at the end of April. During the Giro d'Italia I had regular contact with doctor Geert Leinders [Rabobank team doctor]. I told him that I would train in the Alpes as well. I had a meeting in Berganmo [Italy] with Erik Breukink on June 7. We spoke about 2 or 3 hours about the different tasks and the preparation for the Tour. He knew I was going to train in the Dolomites and the Alpes."

Asked if he had contact in mid June, Rasmussen said: "I have had a few phonecalls with Breukink and also send a few text messages. By the way my Italian number doesn't work in Mexico. But I also had contact with soigneurs, mecanics and the trainer. I still have a few text messages dating between June 15 and June 24 from Breukink in my phone. Messages about how training is going, things that have to be arranged for the Tour and that CSC will take my bicyle the Danish national championship with them."

The Dutch newspaper told Rasmussen that the Volgelzang report says that everybody at Rabobank thought he was in Mexico. That would mean Rasmussen lied to Rabobank as well. Rasmussen responded: "How can they act on that assumption? They never saw what I wrote in my whereabouts. If they were thinking that I was in Mexico how could Breukink make an appoitment with me during that time? I never told anybody of the team that I would go to Mexico. In my e-mail at the end of April [In which Rasmussen asked Breukink to be silent about the training camp in the Pyrenees, as he should be in Mexico during that period] its written very clear that I would not be there. Let somebody proof that I told the team that I would be in Mexico."

Rasmussen admitted to 'De Telegraaf' that Theo De Rooij wrote him a letter on July 3 in which De Rooij wrote that he warned Rasmussen at several occassions in May and June that he [Rasmussen] had to fill in his whereabouts correctly.

Yesterday Rasmussen's Danish lawyer Karoly Nemeth announced that Rasmussen will sue his former team. Nemeth said: "Its good that there will be a court hearing in the Netherlands. Rasmussen hired two Dutch Lawyers to work together with Nemeth. "During the court case the Dutch team leaders can't avoid to tell everything they know truthfully. Until now they did not have a honest explanation and that has to stop."

Temporary Rabobank team manager Henri van der Aat wasn't surprised about the court case. "He [Rasmussen] threadened before with a court case. But until now he did not come with additional proof."

Van der Aat has the opinion that Rasmussen was sacked rightly. "The [Vogelzang] investigation-comittee confirmed this. By lying about his whereabouts he avoided doping controls for a long time. There is no reason to believe the team leaders knew about that."

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