More and more riders are lying about their whereabouts, according to claims by Danish Cycling Federation chairman Jesper Worre. In an interview with Belgian paper Volkskrant Worre spoke his mind on the issues surrounding the warning that Michael Rasmussen was reportedly issued and his subsequent dismissal from his Rabobank team during the Tour de France while leading the race.
"That has never been the subject of discussion," Worre responded, when asked if he believes that Rasmussen had been doping. "It was only ever to do with the warnings. It is better to not talk about it. In Denmark there is a fine line between what an accusation is and what isn't."
"If the federation in Monaco follows the rules, where he holds a licence, he would be suspended for two years," added Worre. "How the case is progressing at the UCI, I don't know. We haven't heard anything about it, even though we would like to play a role."
Since Rasmussen was ejected from this year's Tour, Worre hasn't heard from his countryman. "Maybe Michael is angry at me, even though we should be angry with him also," Worre said. "Because he didn't tell the truth, he has destroyed the sport."
Worre believes that Rasmussen's actions have had a direct impact on the sport in Denmark. Sponsors of the national tour, the Tour of Denmark, want to withdraw from the event due to the negative press associated with cycling at the moment, according to Worre. This year alone four Danish riders have admitted to doping during their careers – Bjarne Riis, Jesper Skibby, Brian Holm and Bo Hamburger.
Following Rasmussen's warning, which he received in June, Worre was phoned by the rider's Rabobank manager Theo de Rooij whom he said that he advised that taking the Dane to the French Grand Tour would be a mistake.
"De Rooij called me on June 29, after he received the letter from the UCI informing him of Rasmussen's warning for not filling in his location form correctly," said Worre. "He must have known then that Rasmussen was not in Mexico. We spoke for about 30 minutes about stuff including the Danish championships. I told him 'we are not taking him in our team [for the worlds - ed.] and if I was you, I wouldn't let him start the Tour'," he said.
De Rooij allegedly responded that he would need to talk with his rider first. Rasmussen did take to the start in London a few days later, which Worre describes as: "Of all the mistakes that was the biggest."
"Rasmussen planned all the lies in the lead up to the Tour," accused Worre. "He is not the only one who follows that programme to mislead the UCI. He receives a warning, but they don't have any consequences. This is the problem with the system. If the teams turn there heads the other way and the UCI can be convinced that intervention is not necessary then it always remains at the warning stage."
Worre believes that only those with a clean past can lead cycling away from the dirty image that it has at the moment. "But people still allow money to dictate," he said. "Rabobank let Rasmussen take to the start. The UCI is also scared to make a decision and has their eyes placed on the money in the sport over everything else.
"There are lots of doping controls, yeah, but what use do they have if the teams continue just as they have for the last 10 years?" Worre said.
Worre has offered two possible solutions to the problem. The first, which was accepted, was to place riders who have tested positive in a state of quarantine longer. "Only no one sticks to it," said Worre. The second is to make public the warning that riders receive for a missed doping control, but Worre says that nothing more has be said about it. "Now riders can speculate about the warnings. And we know where that can lead," he concluded.