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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 20:16 GMT 21:16 UK
Tour leader in drugs test dispute
Michael Rasmussen
Rasmussen has performed well at this year's Tour
Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen has been dropped by Denmark's cycling team in a row over drug testing.

The Danish Cycling Union claims he had three warnings over failing to inform doping authorities of his whereabouts.

"It has been decided that Michael will no longer be part of the national team," said Jesper Worre, the director of the Danish Cycling Union.

Rasmussen, 33, claimed he had only received one warning and blamed the row on an "administrative mistake".

The Rabobank rider told Danish newspaper Politiken: "There must be someone at the top who doesn't wish me well. I can't find another explanation."

This is something that should not in affect my continued participation in the Tour

Michael Rasmussen

Rasmussen, who knew about the DCU's decision last month, added: "I tried to give an explanation of what happened, but they wouldn't accept it.

"But this is something that should not in the least affect my continued participation in the Tour."

Race director Christian Prudhomme said that Rasmussen would start the Tour de France's 12th stage from Montpellier to Castres on Friday.

DCU director Worre said: "It is confidential information but people have the right to know that the DCU fights for a clean sport.

"The DCU is not saying that Michael tested positive. But there are question marks over his behaviour and attitude that place doubts over his place in the national team."

The decision means that Rasmussen cannot represent Denmark at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart or compete for Denmark at the 2008 Olympic Games.

The Dane, who is married to a Mexican and trains in Mexico, won stage eight on Sunday to take the overall lead in the Tour that now stands at more than two minutes.

He has won the last two King of the Mountains titles and he recorded his best overall finish in 2005 when he was placed seventh.

In a similar case last year, British Commonwealth 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu was banned for a year by UK Athletics for missing three out-of-competition drugs tests.

SEE ALSO
Rasmussen climbs into Tour lead
15 Jul 07 |  Cycling


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