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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Rasmussen calm over drug-test row
Michael Rasmussen
Rasmussen is the centre of attention on Friday's stage
Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen has defended himself in the row that has followed his missed drug tests.

The Danish Cycling Union dropped the rider after saying he had received warnings from the International Cycling Union and anti-doping authorities.

"I feel this has been blown a little out of proportion," said Rasmussen.

"I can confirm I have no positive doping tests and I have been tested out of competition in June and those tests were negative."

He added: "I certainly do want to continue riding the Tour de France."

The warnings relate to Rasmussen failing to inform doping authorities of his whereabouts.

"I do admit I committed an administrative error," said Rasmussen. "I have already received a warning from the UCI but I am very calm and very relaxed.

"I have full support from (Tour organisers Amaury Sport Organisation) ASO.

Why did (DCU president) Mr Worre wait until 19 July with Rasmussen in the yellow jersey to give elements he had at his disposal since 28 June

Tour chief Christian Prudhomme

"I don't blame the International Cycling Union, I take responsibility for not informing the UCI of my whereabouts.

"I know a lot of riders who have received warnings for not giving updated information to the UCI. I'm just one out of many and it's just that I happen to have the yellow jersey."

Tour chief Christian Prudhomme questioned the timing of the DCU president Jesper Worre's comments and said he had spoken to the Rababoank rider's team manager Theo de Rooij.

"He has confirmed that Rasmussen had received a warning from the UCI on 29 June for having failed to report his whereabouts before random anti-doping tests that should have been conducted on 8 May and 28 June.

"UCI said a third 'no show' would be considered as a positive test."

He added: "Some questions seem legitimate to me. Why now since the warning dates back to 29 June?

"Why did Mr Worre wait until 19 July with Rasmussen in the yellow jersey to give elements he had at his disposal since 28 June.

"Why has he not talked before the start of the Tour de France, why issue a statement late on Thursday?"

606: DEBATE
FB

Worre countered that the DCU had dropped Rasmussen in June but it waited to get permission from the UCI to make the warnings public.

The UCI failed to respond and only when pressured by the media did Worre feel compelled to reveal all.

"It was the Danish press that started asking Michael if he had any warnings," he said.

"He said he had one and we knew it was not true. We could shut the telephones and hide or we could lie.

"But professional cycling is not in a position where anybody should hide anything.

"That's why we went out and answered the question truthfully. Unfortunately it was during the Tour.

"We didn't want to go out during the Tour, But Michael is pointing in many ways at himself."

And Worre was supported by UCI president Pat McQuaid who said it would be "outrageous" to think that sport's governing body would act to harm the Tour de France.

"We have never tried to hurt the Tour de France and my wish is that the race goes peacefully," he said.

"I can even guarantee that there is no open procedure against any rider on the Tour de France.



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


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