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Breaking: RASMUSSEN OUT OF THE TOUR!!

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Another Update [2007-7-25 18:58:12 by chris]:: from the VN piece, it sounds like this isn't about mere administrative issues, it sounds like they think he was hiding out getting juiced:

Bergsma said the team officials learned that when Rasmussen had claimed to be in Mexico - where his wife lives - he had actually been in Italy, working with an as-of-yet-unnamed doctor.
This is all we know so far, from CN:
Yellow jersey Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) will not start Stage 17 of the Tour de France Thursday morning.

Team manager Theo DeRooy has withdrawn the maillot jaune from the Tour de France, allegedly because Rasmussen lied to the Rabobank team as to his true whereabouts when he missed his out of competition tests in June.

DeRooy will not withdraw the entire team, but will allow the riders to choose to start the stage tomorrow.

VN has slightly more:

However the team has learnt that Rasmussen lied to them over where and what he was up to during the month of June when he was in fact in Italy and not in Mexico as he had told them.

"He broke team rules," said a team spokesman, who said that the Dane has also been fired from the team.

"It is not even sure if the team will carry on in the race," he added.

Update [2007-7-25 18:1:21 by chris]: Rabobank's remaining riders will be allowed to decide for themselves if they continue. Between the lack of cameraderie and Rasmussen's behavior, I'm guessing nobody else will drop. Why should they?

H/t Sylvan for a couple translated grafs from L'Equipe, which I'm lifting from the race recap comments thread below:

"Erstwhile yellow jersey Michael Rasmussen will not be at the start of the 17th stage of the Tour de France on Thursday in Pau. His Rabobank team asked him to leave the race after having discovered that the Dane had lied about his schedule. "He violated the rules of the team. We are not certain that the team will continue the race," declared a team spokesman on Wednesday evening. This decision comes a few hours after the voluntary departure of the Cofidis team whose Italian rider Christian Moreni had tested positive for testosterone. On Tuesday it was the Kazakh team Astana which was uncerimoniously boot-stomped out of the race by the Tour director. Their leader, Alexandre Vinokourov, had tested positive for homologous blood transfusions."