A spokesman for the Rabobank team of Michael Rasmussen read out a statement in the early hours of Thursday morning, following the announcement that their Danish rider, who has lead the Tour de France since Sunday, July 15, lied about his whereabouts, seemingly to avoid out of competition tests.

“The reason for our decision is that the information came out that Michael Rasmussen was not in Mexico when he said he was. He was in Italy.

“He confirmed this information with Theo de Rooy, when he asked him. That is the reason that Theo de Rooy took the decision not to start Michael in tomorrow’s stage of the Tour de France.

“It’s a very complicated situation at this moment. The riders are talking with each other to decide whether or not they will start tomorrow. We have no further information as to whether or not they will start. They will not decide before tomorrow morning.”

The spokesman went on to say that Rasmussen was not at the team hotel, but would not confirm where he was.