Unemployed Danish rider Michael Rasmussen will contest another post Tour criterium on September 2 in the Belgian town of Bavikhove, West Flanders. Last Saturday in Pijnaker, Much like in Copenhagen a few weeks earlier, Michael Rasmussen was seen riding in an all yellow as though he was the winner of the Tour de France at a post-Tour crit. On both occasions he was well received by the crowd, who clapped and cheered his name each time he came past.
Surrounded by body guards the Dane enjoyed the attention the public gave him and reported that he is prepared to fully co-operate during the internal investigation that Rabobank is undertaking. The investigation, being headed up by Peter Vogelzang, must deliver clarification surrounding the alleged lies over Rasmussen's whereabouts in the lead up to the Tour de France this year, which lead to his eventual sacking from the team while leading the worlds biggest cycle race.
The Dutch cycling federation (KNWU) was against the participation of Rasmussen on Saturday in Pijnaker. "Whoever let this happen must have tonnes of butter in his head," a KNWU spokesperson told Sportswereld.be. "A criterium is in the first place a cycling festival where the public can see their Tour de France heroes. It is damaging for the sport when such a guy is offered the stage in a Dutch criterium."
Yet the organiser of the criterium, Maarten Welling, had a different view of the situation. "We see Rasmussen as a victim," he said.
Rasmussen, who was dumped by his Rabobank squad while leading the Tour de France, felt his invitation was justified. "For sure, when 30,000 people spontaneously applause you, you know you are welcome," he said.
Rasmussen will appear in Bavikhove alongside Robbie McEwen and Vladimir Gusev.