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Acqua & Sapone: Rasmussen too expensive

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) (Image credit: AFP)

Former Rabobank rider Michael Rasmussen hasn't found a new home at Italian Professional Continental squad Acqua & Sapone, with team director Palmiro Masciarelli saying that while the squad is still assessing the possibilities it feels employing the Dane would be too expensive. The pair came together last week to discuss the possibility of Rasmussen, who was spectacularly dumped by Rabobank while leading the Tour de France, riding out the season with Masciarelli's team.

"We're still looking into it, but it seems difficult," Masciarelli told AP. "It's not like we can get him for free."

Having defended him to the world's media the previous day, Rabobank made the painful decision to dump its Tour-leading rider after former professional Davide Cassani alleged that Rasmussen was in Italy at the time he claimed to be in Mexico, one of Rasmussen's reasons for not properly filing his documents to assist out-of-competition dope testers.

"It would be too much for a team like ours," said Masciarelli, adding that Rasmussen wanted a contract for 2008 as well. "If we sign Rasmussen we would have to get another five or six riders to support him in big races."

The Danish rider looks set to rider criteriums, as he has done over the past few weeks, for a while longer with Tinkoff Credit Systems quashing rumours it was also interested in the rider. "There hasn't been any contact," Tinkoff team manager Omar Piscina stated. "With the cases we've had this year - [Tyler] Hamilton and [Danilo] Hondo - we're going to be very attentive to which riders we sign in the future. It taught us a lot. Things have changed. We're focusing on our younger riders."

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