The winner of the 2007 Tour de France, Spain’s Alberto Contador, on Thursday criticised the forced exit of Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen which paved the way for his victory.
“I don’t know what is really behind it but I know that what should not be possible is to be told in the middle of the race that you can’t participate when there was no problem at the beginning,” he told private radio Cadena Ser. “I would have liked to have won in another way.”
Rasmussen was kicked off the Tour by his Rabobank team while leading with four days left for allegedly lying about his whereabouts before the race to evade drug testers. He missed random drug tests in May and June, saying he had been in Mexico. But a former Italian rider turned television presenter said he saw him in Italy at the time.
His expulsion was one of four doping scandals to hit the 94th Tour de France, cycling’s biggest event.
Contador, 24, rejected accusations made earlier this week by German doping expert Werner Franke that he was also involved in doping by pointing out that he has not failed a doping test.
“Now you have to prove that you are innocent without being a culprit but what you need to do is devote yourself to doing things well,” he said.
Franke, who has previously said that he can’t read Spanish, bases his claim on documents he says are in his possession from the Spanish police’s Operation Puerto inquiry into Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor alleged to have masterminded doping programmes for athletes.
© AFP 2007