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Friday, August 3, 2007
Rabobank director resigns 10 days after ousting Rasmussen

Associated Press

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- The general director of the Rabobank cycling team resigned Friday, 10 days after he dismissed Michael Rasmussen from the squad while he was leading the Tour de France.

Theo de Rooij has "decided to step down, in consultation with the Rabobank," the team said in a statement.

De Rooij dismissed the Danish cyclist while he was leading in the final stages of the Tour for allegedly lying about his whereabouts to evade doping tests. Rasmussen, who has denied the accusations, missed random drug tests in May and June.

"After the disappointments in the last Tour de France, de Rooij wants to have the time and peace to consider his future," the team said. "Rabobank understands and respects this decision."

After riding for Rabobank when it was created in the mid-1990s, De Rooij became team manager in 2003 and general director in 2004.

"This parting is very hard for me, very very hard," De Rooij said in a statement. "The team is my life and my love. But I didn't see any other choice."

Earlier Friday, Rabobank named Peter Vogelzang, a former chief of police in the Dutch city of Utrecht, to lead an independent investigation into the events surrounding Rasmussen's dismissal.

Vogelzang is a member of the supervisory board for Netherlands' national cycling association.