Friday, July 20, 2007

TdF Stage 12 preview

The common opinion is that after tomorrow's 54 km time trial in Albi, there will be a new leader in the General Classification, i.e. Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) will have to surrender the yellow jersey; Rasmussen is considered a weak time trialist. However, one would think, that after Rasmussen's dismal TT performance in Stage 20 of the 2005 TdF, that he has improved on his time-trialing by now. We'll see.

In addition, he is likely under certain pressure now, considering the revelations about alleged, missed doping tests and blood bags in show boxes. Meanwhile, Rasmussen admitted an "administrative error" in the drug-testing rules, and says that recent out-of-competition doping tests were negative:

“I do admit that I've committed an administrative error,” Rasmussen said before Friday's start of the 12th stage of the Tour. “I was informed of this at the Danish championship 2 1/2 weeks ago, so it's no news.” “It might be a surprise that it comes out right now,” he added. “I'm very calm and very relaxed ... It's a minor deal. I know that a lot of riders in the peloton receive warnings for not informing or not giving updated information to the UCI” – cycling's governing body. “I'm just one out of many, and I just happen to ride with the yellow jersey right now.” Rasmussen said he was tested out of competition in June, and the results were negative. “I have no positive doping tests, and that's it,” he said.

While missing three doping tests constitutes a doping offense, it is incomprehensible that the Danish Cycling Union (DCU) announced Rasmussen's missed TWO tests to the public, during the Tour and while Rasmussen is in the yellow jersey. Someone was out there to get maximum exposure for this "story".

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