Michael Rasmussen, sacked by Rabobank while leading the 2007 Tour de France, has been ordered by a Dutch court to repay his former employers nearly all of the €715,000 he had won from it in 2008 in an action he brought for wrongful dismissal.
He had been dismissed by Rabobank despite being in the maillot jaune after it emerged he had lied about his whereabouts prior to the 2007 Tour.
The team said it believed he was in Mexico, but ex-pro turned TV commentator Davide Cassini spotted him training in Italy. He later received a two-year ban.
Rasmussen revived his action last year, claiming that the team knew of his whereabouts and that in pulling him out of the Tour, it cost him the chance of victory; he had been seeking to increase the amount of damages to €5 million.
A court in Arnhem has rejected his claim, however, and ordered him to repay Rabobank €579,000 as well as costs totalling €84,000, reports Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
In January this year, at a press conference held by the Christina Watches-Onfone team which he had joined in 2010, the Dane confessed to having doped throughout his career and that he was co-operating with Anti Doping Danmark.
Rabobank had already decided to withdraw from sponsorship of professional cycling late last year in the wake of USADA’s publication of its Reasoned Decision in the Lance Armstrong case, but since Rasmussen’s confession, other former team members have confirmed his insistence that doping was organised by the team’s medical staff with the knowledge of its management.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.