The expulsion, which Bergsma said was ordered by the Dutch team's sponsor, was linked to "incorrect" information that Rasmussen gave to the team's sports director over his whereabouts last month. The Danish cyclist missed random drug tests May 8 and June 28, saying he was in Mexico. But a former rider, Davide Cassani, told Denmark's Danmarks Radio on Wednesday that he had seen Rasmussen in Italy in mid-June.Under the rules of itnernation competition for the World Anti-Doping Agency, athletes must make themselves available for random testing throughout the year, including out-of-competition testing. Reportedly Rasmussen missed two test days. Such behavior cannot be tolerated and probably should have been know before the Tour began, in essence Rasmussen's team should not have let me start the race at all.
Only once before in the history of the 104-year-old Tour has the race leader been expelled. In 1978, Belgian rider Michel Pollentier, trying to evade doping controls after winning a stage at the Alpe d'Huez in the Alps, was caught with an intricate tube-and-container system that contained urine that was not his, said Tour historian Jean-Paul Brouchon.
But why pull him now? I think the team thought something might be a little fishy in his lack of appearances for random testing and they figured it better to pull him from the race rather than allow him and his team to become tainted if anything came up later. Although Rasmussen has tested clear during the race, his team may wonder about his pre-race preparation.
This year's tour has seen two riders and an entire team disissed from the competition.
German rider Patrick Sinkewitz crashed into a spectator then was revealed to have failed a drug test in training before the Tour, and [Alexndre] Vinokourov [and team Astana were] sent home after testing positive for a banned blood transfusion. On Wednesday, as Rasmussen was riding toward his stage 16 win, the Cofidis squad confirmed its Italian rider Cristian Moreni failed a doping test, prompting the withdrawal of the entire squad.The ridiculous matter is that these riders somehow believe they will not be caught? The status of international cycling has lead some calling for drastic steps:
Police detained Moreni after he finished the stage and searched the hotel where his Cofidis team was staying. Results from the raid weren't expected until Thursday. France has tough laws against trafficking in doping products.
Cofidis manager Eric Boyer said Moreni "accepted his wrongdoing" and waived his right for a follow-up test to confirm the results of the first, which was positive for the male hormone testosterone.
All this talk of doping prompted Jean-Francois Lamour, vice president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, to suggest the sport should be yanked from the Olympics. German public broadcasters have stopped airing the race, and one of Switzerland's biggest newspapers stopped writing about it. The daily Tages Anzeiger said on its Web site Wednesday it will limit its coverage to results and doping stories.What a joke this race has become. One of the world's premier endurance events has become nothing more than an advertisment for wrongdoing.
What has happened to sports when the biggest stories are drowned out by cheating scandals?