In the latest blow to the Tour de France, race leader Michael Rasmussen was kicked out of the event yesterday by his own team for lying about his whereabouts during doping tests. Rasmussen was the third rider ejected in less than 48 hours as the rapidly mounting doping scandal threatened to destroy the event. Rasmussen was leading by 3:10 and had just won Stage 17.
While Rasmussen had not been caught cheating, "his flippancy and his lies on his whereabouts had become unbearable," said the director of the race, endorsing the team's decision. One-time favorite Alexander Vinokourov was booted Tuesday for blood doping, and cyclist Cristian Moreni was expelled yesterday after he tested positive for synthetic testosterone. Both men's teams immediately dropped out.