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Team Fires Tour de France Leader Rasmussen

Click for a larger interactive map of the Tour de France route.
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Click for a larger interactive map of the Tour de France route.

Two major teams have withdrawn from the Tour de France in the past two days after their riders failed drug tests.

And then, late Wednesday, another bombshell: Michael Rasmussen, the man who was leading the Tour, was fired by his team.

Rasmussen was taken out of the race by the Rabobank team after questions arose about his whereabouts when he was unavailable for doping exams earlier this year.

Rasmussen won Wednesday's stage and had looked set to win the race, which ends Sunday.

Earlier Wednesday, cyclists from eight French and German teams sat out the start of stage 16.

They said they delayed their start to protest the drug abuse in their sport.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.