Rabobank issues statement on Rasmussen
Filed: July 26, 2007
Rabobank has issued a statement regarding the withdrawal and sacking of Michael Rasmussen, and has announced that it has conducted an additional doping control on its remaining team members. The text of the statement appears in its entirety below. - Editor
Rabobank is shocked and disappointed of the fact that Michael Rasmussen gave false information in regards to his whereabouts. Apparently he did not stay at the address that he reported to the UCI and he did not send the report in a timely manner.
UCI has issued a rightful warning to Rasmussen for this delayed provision of information. As giving false information in regards to his whereabouts is a flagrant violation of the UCI rules and therefore is unacceptable. Rabobank supports the decision of the Rabo cycling team to pull Rasmussen out of the competition and to immediately dismiss him from the team.
Rabobank understands how this has affected the morale of the team, that they are not able to decide whether they will continue with the Tour. This is a black day in the history of the Rabo Cycling Promotions Program. Rabobank has no plan to withdraw from its role as a sponsor to the cycling sport. They are now discussing the situation.
Piet van Schijndel, member of the executive board responsible for the Rabo Cycling Promotions Program, was appalled by this new development.
"I thought we have gone through the worst when dealing with all the warnings from UCI. It was of course very unpleasant. But now I really don't know what to say. I can't think of any word to describe it. A nightmare. It is such a wonderful sport, and the team has worked so hard, and now this. The team leaders have done the right thing. I completely support their decision. I have a lot of respect for the team and understand their disappointment. We will first discuss on how to take things further, but one thing is for sure that Rabobank will remain as a sponsor of the cycling sport, in its broadest sense."
Rabobank's head of sponsorship is also stunned: "A black day. I feel so powerless and actually very angry. The team has worked so hard, as well as all the people who work in the bank's sponsoring department, and they are treated in such a shameful manner by the team's foreman. I feel very badly for Michael Boogerd that he has to endure such a thing in his last Tour. This is such a big disappointment to Rabobank. We were busy organizing a celebration party in case that we reach Paris with the yellow jersey. This is not the way it's supposed to be. I find this very sad and unfair and does not deserve to be part of Rabobank."
After consulting with the Supervisory Board of the Rabo Cycling Team and Rabobank Sponsoring department yesterday afternoon, the team's physician will conduct an additional doping control. This happened before the team announced Rasmussen's immediate dismissal. This control is performed based on the turbulent situation in the Tour de France.
This extra control has already been carried out and the results are not yet clear. Member of the Rabo Cycling Team's Supervisory Board, Thomas van Rijckevorsel said, "The cyclists are not under suspicion, but as a sponsor, we want to be absolutely sure that our team is competing in good health."