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Rasmussen considered suicide after being pulled from Tour

By Susan Westemeyer

Michael Rasmussen considered killing himself on the night that he was withdrawn from the Tour de France, he said in an interview with the Dutch newspaper "De Telegraaf".

"I didn't know what had happened to me," he said. He had just won the final mountain stage and was unbeatable for the overall win, but now he had been pulled out of the race for reasons he didn't understand. He was sitting in the back of a team car, with Directeur Sportif Erik Dekker and a driver in the front seat. "I sat there crying. We drove on a country road, and on the other side there were constantly trucks driving by. It would have been easy to throw myself under their wheels. Then this terrible nightmare would have been over."

He didn't do it, and arrived at a hotel. "Dekker remained with me for half an hour. We were both silent and stared at the walls. After midnight, Erik left. Five hours after my victory, I sat alone. My entire world had collapsed. I was lucky that there was no rope in the room. If there had been, I wouldn't be here now," indicating that he would have hanged himself if possible.

He insisted that no one believed the reasons given for him being removed, and that everyone had always known the truth about his whereabouts. "On that evening (July 25), directly after Theo de Rooij had sent me out of the Tour, all the other riders in the bus indicated that everyone on the team knew that I had never been in Mexico. Just for this reason this decision was incomprehensible for everyone."

One of those who knew his whereabouts was Erik Breukink, Rasmussen said, noting that he had telephoned and sent text messages to his Directeur Sportif from an Italian phone which doesn't work in Mexico. "But there was also with soigneurs, mechanics and the coach. I still have some text messages with Breukink from June 15 to 24 in my phone."

He even met with Breukink in Europe, at a time he was allegedly in Mexico. "I had an appointment with Erik Breukink in Bergamo (Italy) on June 7. We spoke for two to three hours .... He knew that I would train in the Dolomites and the Alps."

During the interview, there was only one question which Rasmussen refused to answer: why did he lie about his whereabouts? "By the end of March I had become faced with personal problems, to be specific, in my relations. I wanted to train for the Tour undisturbed and not be confronted with the problems. For this reason it was better that the world thought that I was in Mexico."

"I have told the truth about the problems to the UCI and the Vogelsang commission. I am sorry, but I do not want this all become public."

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