Rasmussen inquiry

Rabobank should have pulled rider before Tour

The Rabobank team should not have allowed Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen start this year's Tour de France, an independent inquiry set up by the team to investigate his exclusion from the race said on Monday.

Rasmussen, a former two-time winner of the Tour de France's polka dot jersey for the best climber, was pulled out of this year's race by Rabobank while wearing the fabled yellow jersey due to major doping suspicions arousing from revelations that he had missed several random doping controls.

The Vogelzang commission, named after the former Police chief Rabobank appointed to lead the inquiry, found that Rasmussen's exclusion from the race in the final week was not only justified but should have happened earlier.

"Appearances weren't good for Rasmussen. It could look like he had deliberately tried to avoid the anti-doping procedures," a commission member told a press conference, adding that Rabobank had the necessary information before the race and should not have allowed him to compete.

Rabobank team manager Theo de Rooij resigned following the scandal, but at the time gave no reasons for his departure.

Rasmussen admitted last week that he lied over his whereabouts - having insisted he was in Mexico when anti-doping controllers failed to find him in Europe to carry out random tests - due to personal reasons.

But he said that he could prove that Robobank knew where he was during this period because he had been in contact with members of the Dutch team management who had sent him money for his trip to France.

© AFP & BikeRadar 2007

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