Rasmussen’s San Luis GC chances blown away by wind and rail
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rasmussen’s San Luis GC chances blown away by wind and rail

by VeloNation Press at 10:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Danish climber seeking more than €5.6 million from Rabobank for 2007 Tour

Michael RasmussenAs he himself predicted before the race, Michael Rasmussen will not be in the running for the overall classification in the Tour de San Luis. Some had hyped the Argentinean event as the first time he Alberto Contador would be head to head in a major stage race since Rasmussen was ejected from the 2007 Tour de France as race leader; much time has passed since then, and the Dane has also been sick during his buildup for the season-opening contest.

The Christina Watches Onfone team leader suffered on the opening stage and finished 65th, coming in as part of a group two minutes and nine seconds behind the sprint winner Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma Quick Step) and 32 others.

The team did perform solidly with Stefan Schumacher tenth and Angelo Furlan three places further back. Rasmussen wasn’t at the same level, though.

“I'm just not good enough right now. That's the truth,” he told ekstrabladet.dk. “A large part of the stage was run in strong cross winds on an open highway. It’s not exactly my strong point, so I did not come with the front group when the field was split into pieces.”

Winds were not the only problem, with freezing conditions, heavy rain and hailstones also assailing the riders. Rasmussen is both light and thin, making him more susceptible to suffering in those circumstances. “Our Argentine therapist says that in the six years she has been involved in the Tour de San Luis, she never has experienced rain. And not hail, so it was totally unexpected that it would be so bad.”

He said that the hailstones caused some riders to shelter under trees. “I almost ran out of winter clothes…I was wrapped up, which is otherwise only something you have to do when you race at home in Denmark in March.”

There are two summit finishes in the race, giving him a chance to test his condition on terrain which suits him better.

Meanwhile it has emerged that the appeal between the Dane and his former Rabobank team will be settled in court in Arnhem on May 25th, with the rider claiming damages of over 5.6 million euros.

Rabobank withdrew him from the 2007 Tour while leading the race due to lying about his whereabouts beforehand. However on July 2nd 2008 the district court in Utrecht ruled that the team was aware of his location before the Tour, and that it had acted incorrectly in firing him when it did. He was awarded a total of €715,000; most of this was to make up for his lost prizemoney in the Tour, as well as two months salary.

Rasmussen is arguing that what happened has effectively meant that he hasn’t been able to have the career he would have had as a Tour de France winner, and that Rabobank should pay more than that initial amount.

“I can now show what the impact of that decision has been in the long run,” he said, according to De Telegraaf. “As Tour winner I could have signed a contract worth millions for several years. We demand more than 5.6 million euro.”


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