Cyclist Rasmussen was dismissed too late

12th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 November 2007, AMSTERDAM - Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen was fired too late from the Rabobank team, the Vogelzang committee said in its report presented on Monday.

12 November 2007

AMSTERDAM - Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen was fired too late from the Rabobank team, the Vogelzang committee said in its report presented on Monday.

Days before the Tour was due to end, Theo de Rooij, then director of the Rabobank Team, suddenly fired the 33-year-old cyclist. At that time Rasmussen had ridden a highly successful Tour and was wearing the leader's yellow jersey.

The Rabobank Group subsequently asked a committee led by Peter Vogelzang to investigate the dismissal of the Danish cyclist.

Vogelzang, 62, is the former police chief of the province of Utrecht and very involved in the Dutch sports world.

The Rabobank Group requested the Vogelzang committee to evaluate the process leading up to Rasmussen's dismissal and analyse the way decisions were made.

The committee says Michael Rasmussen lied about his whereabouts on numerous occasions. The Rabobank cycling management and particularly director Theo de Rooij are criticised for failing to take action against Rasmussen earlier.

The report states that the Rabobank Cycling Team management had enough information discrediting the Dane to never have let him into the Tour the France to begin with.

The report confirms the decision to fire Rasmussen from the tour just days before the end was legitimate, but adds the decision came too late.

In June, De Rooij said he fired Rasmussen as soon as he discovered the cyclist had lied to the Rabobank team about his whereabouts prior to the Tour. He had claimed to be in Mexico.

Last Thursday, Rasmussen admitted at a press conference he had not been in Mexico.

"I did not tell the truth to the International Cycling Union UCI and the public. I regret that," the cyclist said.

However, the cyclist maintained he had never lied to the Rabobank team about his whereabouts. He said he had told the team in June that marital problems were the reason he had to be in Italy.

"The Rabobank team knew I was not in Mexico," Rasmussen told reporters.

Rasmussen also denied once again having used blood doping.

In September the French anti-doping agency AFLD confirmed Rasmussen had tested positive for Dynepo, a kind of EPO, the blood doping agent. However, Dynepo is not defined as doping by the WADA, the world anti-doping agency.

EPO stimulates the production of red blood cells in bone marrow and has a history of usage as a blood doping agent in endurance sports such as cycling, triathlons and marathon running.

[Copyright dpa 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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