Riis blames Rabobank for Tour farce
Former Tour de France champion criticises sponsor for Rasmussen saga.
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2007 14:07 GMT
Bjarne Riis (c) admitting to using EPO to get his yellow jersey [EPA] 
Former Tour de France champion Bjarne Riis, who confessed to doping to win the 1996 race, has criticised team sponsor Rabobank for allowing Michael Rasmussen to compete in this year's race.
Rasmussen was expelled from this year's Tour by his Dutch team while leading the race for allegedly lying about his whereabouts to evade drug testers.
But Riis believes that Rabobank is also culpable.
"It is Rabobank that has an explanation problem," Riis said.
"When they pick a rider for the Tour de France then it must be because they trust him. It is of no use to lose that confidence in the middle of the race.

"They should have left Michael to stay at home if (the warnings) were
serious enough."

Rasmussen missed random drug tests in May and June prior to the Tour.

The Danish rider said he had been in Mexico, but a former Italian cyclist claimed he saw him in Italy then.

Rasmussen took the Tour leader's yellow jersey after winning the eighth
stage on July 15.

He held it until after the 16th stage when he was kicked out four days before the three-week race ended on July 29.

Riis, who is now Team CSC manager and said in May he used EPO from 1993-98, couldn't be reached for further comment, but main sponsor CSC backed Riis, saying he launched the cycling team's rigorous anti-doping program.

Alberto Contador of Spain eventually won the 2007 Tour.

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Indonesia's digerati could be crucial to success in the country's upcoming presidential election.
How Brazil's football legend turned every Corinthians' match into a political meeting for democracy.
As the Pakistani army battles Taliban forces, civilians in North Waziristan face an arduous escape for relative safety.
Nepalese trade in a libido-boosting fungus is booming but experts warn over-exploitation could destroy ecosystem.
Israel's strategy in Gaza remains uncertain, as internal politics are at play for PM Netanyahu.
Greece is holding as many as 6,000 migrants in detention centres, in conditions that have been called appalling.
Long derided for trivialising women, Bollywood is shrugging off its trademark social apathy by upping anti-rape crusade.
Survey of more than 300 colleges shows 40 percent do; highlights lack of training for administrators, law enforcement.
Three years after independence, South Sudan still struggles to escape poverty and conflict.
join our mailing list