The Coppa Agostoni had a surprise visitor yesterday in Lissone when Michael Rasmussen appeared and had a meeting with Acqua & Sapone Team Manager Palmiro Masciarelli. The Dane, who left the Tour de France in disgrace and subsequently was fired from his team, Rabobank, is looking for a new team and the possibility of racing the Giro di Lombardia.
"I am a free rider and I am even able to race tomorrow," explained the 33 year-old to La Gazzetta dello Sport after a 30 minute meeting with Masciarelli in the team's bus. "I don't have debits with anyone. In fact, I have credit because Rabobank drove me away, provoking economic and moral difficulties. I was a victim of a big injustice and my lawyers are working to set matters correct. My objective is to find a team because I wish to have a great Lombardia."
Rasmussen left many with doubts regarding his whereabouts in the build up to the Tour de France. During the race it was discovered that he missed out of competition controls and the situation worsened when his recollection of whereabouts was contradicted by Italian journalist Davide Cassani.
"They were Danish [Federation] controls. They don't have the right to make them," explained Rasmussen regarding his missed controls. "I was not in Denmark and my license is from Monaco. I did not miss the WADA or UCI controls. The UCI even made one when I was in Denmark for the national championships on June 30.
"I am not able to say. There is something going on," he responded when asked why he lied by saying he was in Mexico instead of Dolomites, where he was spotted training by Cassani. When the uncertainties were uncovered Rabobank dismissed Rasmussen. "I can say that, other than the training in the Dolomites, I was in the Pyrénées in this same period. Rabobank knew where I was because it had paid me for the airplane ticket."
The case of Rasmussen has left many doubts but nothing that can stop the Dane from signing for a new team and competing.