"Why does the federation suddenly wake up now? With Rasmussen in the yellow," wondered Tour director Christian
Prudhomme. The Rabo Cycling team also questions the announcement because the team was already informed weeks ago and because
the situation is just an 'administrative error.'
The Danes announced on Thursday evening that Rasmussen will no longer be selected for national delegations
because he did not inform them on time where he would train. Federations have to know training locations and times for so-called
out-of-competition tests. Because he has now been excluded from the teams, Rasmussen can no longer participate in world championships
or the Olympics.
Rabobank Sports Director Erik Dekker said that Rasmussen had already received an official warning from
the international cycling federation UCI at the end of June. Dekker: "After that, we pointed Michael’s responsibilities
out to him. It is an administrative error which I feel should never have been made public. The policy of the Danish federation
is apparently to draw conclusions from this, but we will not do that." Neither does the Tour organization, because Rasmussen
is allowed to appear at the start of the twelfth stage on Friday. In the yellow jersey.
Theo de Rooij, general director of the Rabo Cycling Teams Inc: "We can conclude that there are no indications
whatsoever, neither in the UCI data of his latest tests nor in the data or our own tests, that point to manipulation or doping
abuse. This was important information for us." Chairman Jesper Worre of the Danish cycling federation has now also emphasized
that Rasmussen is by no means considered to be a doping sinner.
In the future, the Rabobank-team will check even closer whether their cyclists hand over the proper information
to the institutions on time, according to De Rooij. He also emphasizes that the time for a less bureaucratic system is now.
"Some cyclists have to send data to as many as three institutions which all have their own system. That is an enormous administrative
load. We would support making one international institution responsible for implementation and execution and that the teams
are immediately informed of cases of negligence. It is and will always be the responsibility of the cyclists themselves to
handle this matter carefully."
In a statement during the daily Tour de France press conference, Tour director Christian Prudhomme said:
"We have learned via the media about the decision of the Danish federation to not select Michael Rasmussen to represent
the national team at the world championships and Olympic Games. The Rabobank team manager, Theo de Rooij, told us that Rasmussen
had received a warning letter from the UCI for failing to fill in his athlete whereabouts form which related to two missed
controls. The letter sent by the UCI said that a third such warning would constitute a positive test. This situation prompts
us to ask a number of questions:
- Why have the federation and the UCI, which had all this information since 29 June,
waited until 19 July to announce their decision?
- Why is it so late? And why is it so early…? The selection for
the world championships needs to be made in September and, for the Olympics, it’s not made until next year.
the letter was received two days before the national championships on 1 July, why did he start this race that was organized
by his national federation?
- Is a warning considered a sanction when, according to the Danish federation, Rasmussen is
not considered worthy of representing his country at the world championships and Olympic Games?
- Will the UCI sanction
all the riders who have received warnings?
Maybe the UCI and the Danish federation have more information to justify their
actions. If this is the case, then we ask that they alert us of what they know.
With regard to the Tour, Michael Rasmussen
has been tested several times and, according to the UCI which is the governing body, he’s allowed to ride. It’s
because of these reasons that Rasmussen was at the start of the 12th stage."
After the 12th stage of this years Tour de France, Michael Rasmussen said: "It’s good to be one day closer to Paris
and still in the yellow jersey. It was actually quite a relief to be on the bike in the race today, to say the least. I’m
very calm and collected before the upcoming time trial and I’m confident that I can defend the jersey tomorrow.
do not have a problem. I received a warning from the UCI and from the Danish anti-doping agency for not updating my whereabouts
information correctly and I accept that warning. There’s no more to the story. I was in Mexico for a while before the
Tour but I was also racing the Giro d’Italia in May and people who follow cycling a little bit know that.
not my choice to communicate anything. It’s the Danish federation that has announced it. Many riders receive warnings
for missed tests or not updating their whereabouts forms correctly. There are plenty of riders in the peloton with similar
warnings and nobody is announcing them; it’s not a public matter.
"I think you have to ask the Danish federation.
My feelings towards that federation are best kept to myself.
"I don’t think what’s happening is terrible for
the Tour de France. There are many riders in this situation. People who have to live like professional athletes do –
and have to keep two different agencies up to date with where they are for every hour of the day – will experience that
it’s not that easy to keep these things correct all the time. It’s a case of knowing three months in advance where
you’re going to be on an hour-by-hour basis and that’s the system that’s in place; but I’ve explained
my story: I did not update my whereabouts information according to the UCI rules and I’ve received a warning for that
and I accept that I’ve made a mistake. I have only received a recorded warning for that. I accept that and there’s
no more to the story."
A few hours after the remarks of Rasmussen US based website velonews.com published a story with new allegations against
Rasmussen. Whitney Richards, 31, a one-time cross-country racer, told Velonews.com that in March 2002, Rasmussen
asked him to transport a box with cycling shoes. But according to Richards, the shoebox actually contained bags of an
American-made human blood substitute. None of the information Richards provided to the US based website involves allegations
of current doping. Rasmussen was asked about the allegations during the press conference today, the Danish yellow jersey
holder said: "I cannot confirm any of that. I do know the name." Velonews says that Richards informed Velonews in 2002
about the case but the editors decided not to publish the story as Richards did not want Velonews to publish his and rasmussen's
name. Now Richards changed his mind and allowed to publish both names and Velonews decided to publish the story.