Michael Rasmussen would be allowed to ride the Tour de France again, according to both the Tour organizer and the International Cycling Union (UCI), even if both organizations seem to think that the other might not want to allow it.
There has been much discussion lately in the Danish media lately about the possibility of Bjarne Riis signing Rasmussen for Team Saxo Bank-SunGard for the coming year, with the team manager not making a definite statement on his plans.
Rasmussen was removed from the 2007 Tour de France while leading the race, and subsequently suspended for two years for lying about his whereabouts in the lead-up to the Tour. Since returning to racing in 2009, he has continued to look for a team with which he can again ride the Grand Tours.
One of the potential drawbacks of signing the Dane is the question of whether the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) would allow him to enter the Tour again, and so Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet posed that very question.
“There is no formality that would prevent Michael Rasmussen from participating in the Tour de France. He has served his sentence, and if there is a perception that he is not welcome, you must ask the UCI about the cause," said ASO spokesman Mathieu Desplats.
The newspaper thus called UCI president Pat McQuaid, who, it said, sighed audibly when Rasmussen's name was mentioned. He reiterated that the Dane is free to ride again.
“Rasmussen can ride races. He has served his sentence and if Riis signs him, it's purely a matter between him and Rasmussen.” said McQuaid.
When asked if he thought that the ASO had blacklisted Rasmussen, he replied, “You must ask the ASO about that. There are no formalities which obstruct Michael Rasmussen's eventual return to the Tour de France.”
Desplats was surprised at the suggestion that the ASO would block Rasmussen's participation. “He said that? Well, there's nothing to stop it. Unless there are some personal opinions somewhere in the ASO that support it. I can't imagine it is so, but I should like to look into it,” he said, and repeated that "there is no reason why he should not be able to ride the Tour de France.”