Alex Rasmussen says he could yet become a Garmin-Cervélo rider
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Alex Rasmussen says he could yet become a Garmin-Cervélo rider

by VeloNation Press at 8:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Dane hoping to be fully cleared or handed a reduced suspension

Alex RasmussenHis future won’t be determined until his disciplinary hearing takes place, but Alex Rasmussen believes there could still be a place with him on the Garmin-Cervélo team. The Dane had been due to compete with Jonathan Vaughters’ squad in 2012 but doubt was cast on that by the squad after Rasmussen was reported in mid-September to have three whereabouts violations.

“Our policy is stringent. In light of this situation, Alex Rasmussen will not be joining our team,” it indicated on September 15th, the same day HTC Highroad fired him over the matter.

However, the rider has told Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten that depending on how things turn out for him, that he believes he could yet wear argyle in future. “I have talked with Jonathan Vaughters, who will decide in the end,” he said. “He would like to have me on the team when I come back.

“I have also spoken to some of the sports directors. They are all positive. I am very grateful that they still want to touch me after it here. Garmin is a team which cracks down on doping. But no one is talking about doping suspicions against me.” Rasmussen spoke about the issue on the day that the story broke, explaining to VeloNation that the problem was two missed tests plus one late submission of his whereabouts information. “There was one when the testers came to Denmark but I was riding the six days of Berlin; and another when they came to Girona and I’d gone home to Denmark for my sister’s confirmation and I hadn’t updated my whereabouts,” he told VeloNation.

“The third offence was regarding ‘quarters’ as we call them – you have to have your whereabouts form for the following three month period completed five days prior to that quarter starting, I was late with my submission.”

The three errors are a violation of WADA’s rules, but several have vouched for Rasmussen, putting the matters down to a very disorganised nature. It will be up those who hold the first disciplinary proceeding and then the Court of Arbitration for Sport to decide if that is the case, and if the reasons are adequate to result in a lesser sanction.

However, depending on when Rasmussen was informed about the third violation, there is a chance that the most recent one of those three incidents could be dropped altogether. Under UCI rules, the rider must be informed of the violation with 14 days of it happening, and he then has 14 days to respond. After that, WADA must be informed and, once that is done, there is then a 30 day period within which the UCI must open disciplinary proceedings.

The missed whereabouts filing occurred on April, but HTC Highroad said that it wasn’t informed until September. If it transpires that the UCI didn’t start disciplinary proceedings during the timeframe laid out, its own article 111 in the anti-doping regulations dictates that the offence should be thrown out. He would therefore be free to return to racing.

Furthermore, if that does happen, the first two offences will also be struck off as they occurred in 2010; the window for the ‘three strikes and you are out’ rule is over an 18 month time period, which will have elapsed. The Philadelphia International Championship winner would therefore have a clean slate going forward.

If he is suspended, there is a chance he could be back in action sooner than expected. Rasmussen states that if he is handed a reduced ban of one year, that the date of that would normally begin from the moment of the third violation, namely last April. In that case, he would be eligible to return in time for the 2012 Giro d’Italia, which starts on his home soil of in Denmark next May.


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