Michael Rasmussen has reacted angrily to being kicked out of the Tour de France and sacked by his team after allegedly lying over a missed random dope test.
Rabobank dramatically split with Rasmussen after the Danish rider had consolidated his race lead with victory in Wednesday’s 16th stage.
The Dutch team justified their action by saying Rasmussen had lied when he said he’d been in Mexico rather than Italy for one of the four dope tests he failed to show up for in the past 18 months.
But, in an interview with Danish newspaper B.T Rasmussen questioned his team manager Theo de Rooy’s decision to drop him.
“It’s the work of a desperate man who is at the end of his nerves,”
Rasmussen told the paper’s website.
“My boss is mad,” he added, claiming that he hadn’t lied over his wherabouts for last month’s test.
“I wasn’t in Italy, no way. That’s the story of one man (former cyclist and now an Italian television presenter Davide Cassani) who thinks he saw me. But there’s not the slightest proof.”
Rasmussen was dropped after Cassani claimed on Italian television station RAI that he’d seen the cyclist in June in the Italian Dolomites at a time when he’d told his team he was preparing for the Tour de France in Mexico.
De Rooy, explaining his decision to drop Rasmussen, had earlier Thursday
claimed: “He lied to me, that is the chief reason (for sacking him).”
On the verge of tears Rasmussen told the paper that the scandal had left him “broken and destroyed” and with nowhere left to turn.
To add to the rider’s woes, speaking from the Hague a Dutch International Cycling Union (UCI) official, Joop Atsma, said Thursday that the union would impose sanctions on the Dane.
“Rasmussen lied about his whereabouts. He also lied to the UCI, sanctions must be applied,” Atsma, the president of the UCI Road Commission told the ANP news agency.
Atsma, who is also a member ofthe Dutch parliament , added that it is not yet known what kind of punishment Rasmussen will get as this is a rather novel situation because the cyclist has never tested positive for doping on a UCI test.
Whatever the ultimate sanction, Atsma stressed that Rasmussen has already been severely punished.
“No cycling team will ever want to hire him again. His career is over,” he said.
Despite having no positive tests so far, the 33-year-old climbing specialist has been the subject of doping speculation since it was revealed last week that he missed four random doping controls over the past 18 months.
Rabobank fired him after claims that Rasmussen had lied about where he was at the time of the controls.