Shamik Das

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ra ra Rasmussen, Lover of the dreaded weed ...

There was a cat that really was gone;
Ra ra Rasmussen, Denmark's greatest doping cheat,
It was a shame how he carried on ...

"I'm a broken man."

THE credibility of the Tour de France was left hanging by a thread following the sacking of race leader Michael Rasmussen late last night.

Rasmussen, kicked out of Denmark's Olympic team a week ago, suffered the ultimate ignominy yesterday evening when his Dutch Rabobank team expelled him from their ranks for lying about his whereabouts during pre-tournament testing.

The Dane, however, remains unrepentant, describing team boss Theo de Rooy as "a desperate man" at "the end of his nerves".

"My boss is mad," said Rasmussen in an interview with Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende. "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.

"I'll maintain that I have been in Mexico, it is what I have told the team."

"It's all very enormous," he added. "I've been left broken and destroyed."

SHAMED: Disgraced 2006 winner Floyd Landis.    UNCOMPROMISING: Reformed drug cheat David Millar.

Rasmussen's dismissal follows the unmasking of Cristian Moreni and Alexandre Vinokourov for an abundance of testosterone and blood doping respectively.

Keen to avoid a repeat of last year when Tour winner Floyd Landis was stripped of his title after the race, Rabobank acted fast to axe the man in posession of the yellow jersey and this year's overwhelming favourite for the title.

Britain's David Miller - himself benned for two years for drug taking - believes Rasmussen got what was coming. "I think it's a great day," said the Scot. "If we didn't have this out-of-competition testing this would never have arisen.

"This is really good for the sport. Finally team management and sponsors are assuming their responsibilities which they weren't before, which is why and how it has got to this degree.

"The fact that they are doing something like this is a very strong statement and a very big step. It goes to show that they are reacting rather than putting their heads in the sand.

"We're moving in the right direction but by bringing in these more stringent controls we are going to pay a higher price in the immediate future.

"He was playing the system. He had to go."


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