|ESPN.com: Tour de France 2007||[Print without images]|
|Michael Rasmussen still led the Tour de France after Friday's Stage 12.|
The Tour director said he wanted to know whether there were "other elements, other circumstances" known to Danish officials that would have prompted their decision to bump Rasmussen from two prestigious international competitions. Rasmussen appeared briefly before reporters again Friday evening and was asked if the cloud of suspicion was distracting him on the eve of the first long individual time trial, an event in which the self-described "pure climber" has embarrassed himself in the past. "About this much," he said, smiling and holding his thumb and index finger about an inch apart. Yet it seems unlikely that fielding all these questions could be performance-enhancing. Bonnie DeSimone is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.