EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Bad Turn In The Road

  • July 26th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

rasmusen-portrait.jpgCommentary: Trust in sport took its heaviest blow for a long time as Michael Rasmussen, hands-down leader in the Tour de France, was booed by the crowd and yanked from the race — four days short of Paris.

UNDER A BLACK CLOUD
The Danish rider, 33, went into his last day’s race, Round 16, another win, under a black cloud of suspicion, being questioned by his own team officials over doping tests he missed during training.

Crowds of onlookers in love with the race had no love for the leader, booing him at the start and along the way.

“TAKING THEIR FRUSTRATION OUT ON ME …”

He told journalists it was a reaction to the doping crisis that overwhelmed the event as riders worked their way through the arduous second week’s competition in the region of the Pyrenees.

“It’s true that I was booed …”, he said.

“There’s a lot of feeling amongst the people who follow cycling and in the peloton about what’s going on …

“People are taking their frustration out on me…

“I can only add that I have had 14 negative tests so far during this tour.”

A DISASTER

Then the disaster struck:

After another team, French-based Cofodis, pulled out when a rider tested positive for testosterone; Rasmussen’s managers, on the Radobank team, scratched him.

They said he had broken team rules by failing to properly explain his whereabouts at the time of the missed tests.

Cycling fans had already declared themselves unimpressed by the man’s outstanding form: when a poll conducted by Tour de France asked if the winner of the day’s stage would go on to take out the title, out of the 7208 respondents, 59.3% said he could not.

WHAT NOW?
The official bulletin of the Tour de France, maybe reflecting a stunned response from officials, a short time before posting (09:00 AEST 26.7.07) still had Rasmussen listed as the race leader, ahead of the Spanish rider Alberto Contador.

Australia’s Cadel Evans, listed as third, will now move into second overall position in the Tour de France.

Reference:

Christian Rasmussen media conference, see
http://www.letour.fr/2007/TDF/LIVE/us/1600/journal_etape.html

Picture: Michael Rasmussen, Tour de France

Leave a Reply