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July 26, 2007

Rasmussen: "I was not in Italy"

When Michael Rasmussen's withdrawal was announced by Rabobank, their press officer said it was because Rasmussen had admitted to director Theo de Rooij that he was in Italy when Davide Cassani claimed to see him on June 13 or 14th:

"When Rasmussen was confronted with this information he confirmed to [team manager] Theo de Rooij he was at that moment in Italy," said Rabobank press officer Jacob Bergsma. "That was the reason De Rooij decided to get him out of the Tour and the team."

Today, Rasmussen denied this to the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD.nl story and video, in Dutch):

“I am shattered. I am on the verge of tears. I was not in Italy. Not at all. That's the story of one man who believes he recognised me. There is no hint of evidence.”

“My career is ruined. I have no idea what I should do or where I will go. This is an enormous blow for me, and also for all the guys from the Rabo team. They're devastated.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 26, 2007 in Michael Rasmussen | Permalink


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This seems to me to be one of the easiest things to verify. Where's his passport?

Posted by: todd at Jul 26, 2007 10:13:29 AM

Unfortunately Todd, I believe Rasmussen carries a Danish passport. As such, he is free to travel without a visa or even showing any ID when traveling between Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain or Sweden.

Posted by: Lisa at Jul 26, 2007 11:08:48 AM

Not really - no passport controls any longer within/among EU countries.

Posted by: noelle at Jul 26, 2007 11:16:37 AM

but wouldn't he have to get back to Mexico with a passport?

Posted by: Owen at Jul 26, 2007 11:49:10 AM

Yes, that's quite correct. EU citizens don't need visa or get their passports stamped for travel within the EU.

But didn't he say he was in Mexico when he was said to be in Italy? Surely he'd have a visa stamp for his Mexican trip.

Posted by: jon at Jul 26, 2007 12:05:01 PM

He would still have a stamp for Mexico...or not.

Posted by: Cap at Jul 26, 2007 12:29:54 PM

I say "job well done" to the Tour de France! Cycling is the only major sport on the planet that has the "guts" to kick out cheaters in the midst of a major championship! The United States pro-sporting organizations should pay closer attention to cycling. Our pro-sports commissioners are chickens! Baseball, football, basketball, and now even golf, are riddled with sports stars using and abusing performance enhancing drugs, lying about it, and getting away with it all under the umbrella of the almighty dollar. Cycling is doing a stellar job in getting rid of cheaters and thugs!

Posted by: jackie at Jul 26, 2007 12:48:41 PM

Wouldn't his passport have a stamp for Mexico at least?

Posted by: Matt Haughey at Jul 26, 2007 12:58:44 PM

This can't require Inspector Poirot. Credit card receipts? Airline tickets? Photos of a chicken wearing a sombrero?

Posted by: Luke at Jul 26, 2007 1:13:27 PM

but if he was in Mexico like he said wouldn't that be on his passport ???

Posted by: RonV at Jul 26, 2007 1:22:29 PM

But, wouldn't a passport check prove he was in Mexico? To clear his name, he just needed to show a passport confirming he was where he said he was. Right?

Posted by: mjryan at Jul 26, 2007 1:23:27 PM

Yeah, but didn't Rasmussen claim to be in Mexico at the time? That should be easily verifiable. It's not like he can ride his bike there.

Posted by: Nancy Toby of Lanterne Rouge Blog at Jul 26, 2007 1:39:33 PM

But if he was in Mexico, then it will be demonstrated on his passport. Yes, it IS easy to prove or disprove.

Posted by: Tim at Jul 26, 2007 1:43:30 PM


The reports that I have seen indicate that Rasmussen has stated he was in Mexico May 8 and June 28. So, again, where is his passport? Mexico is not in the EU. If he was there then there should be some record of that. Furthermore, no matter where he was there must be some evidence of his whereabouts that he could provide in his defense (credit card, airline, and cell phone records).

The question I have is this; were those two dates the only ones he missed out of many other tests that were negative during that time? Or, were they the only scheduled tests and, as a result, there is no data for the 2 months preceding the start of the Tour? If they were just 2 tests among many others then I would be willing to overlook that. If he missed the only 2 tests during that time then that is unfortunate and suspicious. His disregard is a bit unfortunate as well, although he is probably not the only rider that missed a scheduled test. Is there anyone looking into related conduct among other Tour riders? Shouldn't be that difficult.

I realize that he has not had any positive doping results during the Tour. I would like to believe in him (as a mt. biker myself I was psyched to see him winning). So I have another question; is there some type of doping/drug that he could have taken in advance of the Tour that would enhance his performance over the course of the last couple weeks during which time testing has failed to indicate doping? I'm no expert on this, but it seems blood doping and testosterone are used immediately before a stage and are only good for a short time.

Regardless of Rasmussen's verdict, this Tour has become meaningless. If Ras is innocent then the winner will have proved nothing. If he is guilty, yet testing failed to produce any positive, then who is to say how many other riders are guilty? There is no way of knowing. The labs cannot be trusted either. The problems are entrenched from top to bottom. That is why the Tour has become a bunch of crap.

Posted by: Jim at Jul 26, 2007 1:45:45 PM

People seem awfully optimistic that passports actually get stamped when borders are crossed. I've been to some airports that didn't bother.

But yes, it does seem that there would be some sort of evidence, and as usual it's a shame that everyone feels the need to jump to conclusions and avoid due process. I'd rather see people compete and get stripped of titles if necessary than get yanked before anything is proven (and I imagine Petacchi is agreeing with me...).

Posted by: Andromeda at Jul 26, 2007 3:16:22 PM

I think the pretty obvious reason he hasn't already come forward with evidence he was in Mexico is because there isn't any. My impression is that he was confronted by the team director, and admitted it, and then recanted that stroy when talking to the media. But by then it would have been too late.

Posted by: out4blood at Jul 27, 2007 12:45:21 AM

First off Rasmussen won the 2007 Tour de France...Second Prudhomme should be fired after his remarks to Rasmussen.

Mr. Prudhomme is not professional saying, the Tour is better off w/o Rasmussen and also stating he did everything he could to get rid of him (maybe he is mad like all of the French Press because a French rider hasn't won the Tour in ages...I don't know but there were riders that clearly doped and he seemed to just blow them on by adn he threw darts at an innocent man)

And third Rabobank managers need to look into this before just pulling him out. Something is not right here by pulling Rasmussen the day he really won the Tour!! (That is the very strange part about this situation and the part that got me furious)

Rasmussen has had multiple doping test before the Tour and has had fourteen test all negitive results. If any of those would have been positive, then yes pull him but they weren't.

This situation was handled totally wrong. This should have been looked at before the Tour and handled in a professinal way. Rasmussen made a mistake by training TWO days in Italy and if he was doping it would have showed in the test.

I am 100% for a clean sport and those who dope should be kicked out and suspended from cycling because there are those riders who work so hard to become a great rider and then the press and some high authority says they were here and they did this and then they just kick the riders out. The way this was handled the Tour de France made itself look really bad..

Doping just doesn't make sense...And assuming someone is doping is just as bad and thats exactly what the UCI, ASO, The Tour, and the Rabobank managers did to Rasmussen.

Rabobank should've looked more into this situation and talked to Rasmussen about it and not just acted opon one moment because that one moment could ruin everything...just like it did.

Oh look Contador was on Operación Puerto are they sure they don't want to pull him because he is leading the Tour. Oh but Mr. Prudhomme cleared it don't worry..

Is the UCI and ASO corrupted? and pro cycling with it? The Tour has become crap with dopers and people that assume
I don't wan't to see the Tour de France dissolve like it has started to....

Posted by: j at Jul 27, 2007 12:46:36 AM

I'm sorry I don't see why Rasmussen was pulled. The commentators are very quick to side with the tabloids and blacken his name. Why not release your evidence Rabobank? The presumption of guilt is not a cornerstone of a just system. Shame on you all, let the man speak.
Go on then Michael!!

Posted by: John at Jul 27, 2007 2:27:42 AM

I have been waiting since 2005 to see Michael Rasmussen overcome THAT time trial and until he was removed from the tour harshly by his team, I had celebrated each day of him in yellow in the tour of 2007 as a triumph! And then, some people decide, a long way into the tour, after they seem to have known about these missed days for a month at least, to remove him when he is in yellow and near the end of the tour! How disorganised are these organisations? Don't they have checks and controls and track this sort of information about their riders? Rabobank and the tour have denied natural justice to this sportsman.

Posted by: marie at Jul 27, 2007 11:15:09 AM

A dutch website published a new fact: it did NOT rain on that day in the Italian Dolomites. So it seems Davide Cassani is the one who did not say the truth...

See: http://www.mekreatief.nl/cas.htm

Posted by: Oskar van Rijswijk at Jul 29, 2007 1:37:24 PM