Van Heeswijk: Rabo riders knew Rasmussen wasn't in Mexico

Former Rabobank rider Max van Heeswijk claims that the riders on the team knew that Michael...

Former Rabobank rider Max van Heeswijk claims that the riders on the team knew that Michael Rasmussen was not in Mexico training for the Tour de France in June of last year. Van Heeswijk made the statements on a show broadcast Sunday night on Netherlands 2 television. "It was no news to us that Rasmussen was not in Mexico," said Van Heeswijk. "Around the sixth of July I heard that when I was in a training camp with a large group of non-Tour riders."

Rasmussen was famously kicked off the Rabobank team and sent home while wearing the yellow jersey and being on the verge of winning the Tour de France. Rasmussen had filed his whereabouts to the UCI, saying he was training in Mexico at the same time he was seen training in the Dolomites in Italy by television commentator Davide Cassani. When Cassani made this knowledge public, it led to the Dane's removal from the Tour. Rasmussen later admitted to lying, but said it was for personal reasons.

On the same program where Van Heeswijk made his claims, Rasmussen met Cassani again for the first time since last year's fallout. Cassani expressed his remorse for revealing Rasmussen's lie to the public, "I cried that evening that they sent you home. I felt terrible. I felt as if I had stabbed you in the back," the Italian said. Rasmussen didn't blame him, saying, "I know who sent me home. You told your story in good faith."

According to telesport.nl, the UCI closed its investigation of Rasmussen and sent it off to the Monaco cycling federation on January 10. It is said to claim that Rasmussen lied about his whereabouts and received three recorded warnings, which would give him a suspension of three to 12 months. On Thursday, the Monaco federation told Danish television that it had still not received the UCI report.

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