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Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Denmark Olympic officials back cycling union on ban

Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Denmark's Olympic Committee has backed the Danish cycling union's decision to drop Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen from the national team.

The union, known as DCU, kicked Rasmussen off the national team last week for failing to tell anti-doping officials of his whereabouts for drug-testing.

Niels Nygaard, the chairman of the National Olympic Committee, said Tuesday that "we support that [ban]," but that a final decision on whether to exclude Rasmussen from next year's Olympics in Beijing has not been made.

"But the naming of an Olympic team will of course be made in cooperation with the DCU," Nygaard said in a statement. "And when we decide which people can compete in the Olympics, one can imagine that we will also look at ethical issues."

The DCU had previously said Rasmussen cannot represent Denmark at the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, in September.

"There is a very big problem right now with international cycling," Nygaard said. "It is totally normal to be on your toes."

Rasmussen received a warning on June 29 from the International Cycling Union because he missed random drug tests on May 8 and June 28. Anti-doping officials sought to contact Rasmussen but he had not informed them of his whereabouts and was reportedly training in Mexico.

Danish federation and international rules require cyclists to keep officials informed of their whereabouts for possible unannounced doping tests.

Lance Armstrong said he had no sympathy for cyclists who fail to report their whereabouts for drug tests.

"It's 2007, everyone's accessible by cell phone, e-mail or Blackberry," Armstrong told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I declared where I was 365 days a year. Everybody has to play by the same rules."