[b]Tour de France - Rasmussen out of Tour as Rabobank wield axe[/b]
Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen has been sacked by the Rabobank team after it transpired the Dane had lied over his whereabouts when missing two out-of-competition drug tests.
The Danish climbing specialist had claimed he had been in Mexico after failing to notify the International Cycling Union for the missed tests, though he was in fact still in Italy.
Rasmussen had come under fire after the Danish Cycling Union dropped him from their team for the world championships in Stuttgart this year and the Olympic Games in 2008, citing two missed tests on May 8 and June 28 as the reason.
Rasmussen had seemed set for overall victory in Paris after blowing away main rival Alberto Contador on the last kilometre of the Col d’Aubisque in stage 16, though it is now the diminutive Spaniard who leads the overall classification by 1 minute 53 seconds from Predictor-Lotto’s Cadel Evans.
The scandal is the third to hit cycling’s blue riband event within the space of just two days.
The Astana team withdrew from the Tour on Tuesday after it emerged that pre-race favourite Alexandre Vinokourov had tested positive for blood doping, while the French outfit Cofidis did likewise on Wednesday following the news the Italian rider Cristian Moreni had tested positive for abnormally high levels of testosterone.
Uma pena para uma prova que estava a ser espectacular…