Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tour leader booted from race

Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen of Denmark has been removed from the race. (ABC News says he was "sensationally expelled!")

No one is saying it was related to drug use at an event rocked by a series of doping scandals.

“Michael Rasmussen has been sent home for violating (the team’s) internal rules,” Rabobank team spokesman Jacob Bergsma told The Associated Press by phone today.

The expulsion, which Bergsma said was ordered by the Dutch team sponsor, was linked to “incorrect” information that Rasmussen gave to the team’s sports director over his whereabouts last month. Rasmussen missed random drug tests May 8 and June 28.

The 33-year-old rider, who won today’s stage, had looked set to win the race, which ends Sunday in Paris. But Tour officials questioned why he was allowed to take the start on July 7 in London, England.

“We cannot say that Rasmussen cheated, but his flippancy and his lies on his whereabouts had become unbearable,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme told the AP.

TV and Out There writer Andy Wineke and I were talking about throwing the race open to whatever enhancements a rider wants. Pump yourself up, and let's see who really flies. At this point, you wonder why not?

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