Jonathan Vaughters reacts to UCI’s appeal in Alex Rasmussen case
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jonathan Vaughters reacts to UCI’s appeal in Alex Rasmussen case

by Ben Atkins at 12:41 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Garmin-Cervélo boss emphasises that Danish rider is innocent until proven guilty after being cleared by his national federation

jonathan vaughtersJonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Cervélo directeur sportif and CEO of Slipstream Sports, has reacted to the International Cycling Union (UCI) decision to appeal against the acquittal of Alex Rasmussen, who has signed with the American team for 2012. The Danish rider was forced to face his national sports federation’s anti-doping committee in November following three violations to the whereabouts rule, but was acquitted on a technicality since the UCI took ten weeks to inform him instead of the statutory fourteen days.

When his disciplinary case was announced in mid-September, Rasmussen was fired by his HTC-Highroad team; it was assumed at the time that his agreed move to Garmin-Cervélo would have been cancelled, due to the team’s anti-doping stance, but he was officially unveiled with the rest of the team in Boulder, Colorado, last month, shortly after the news of his acquittal was announced.

“First off, whereabouts rules have to be respected, or the whole system falls apart,” Vaughters told VeloNation. “Internally, we suspend a rider from competition with only 2 missed tests during their time with us. We take whereabouts very seriously. So, I think the UCI is correct in their action to appeal this, as whereabouts are very important and must be respected.

“As for Alex and Garmin,” he continued. “We must respect the contract we signed on August 1st, 2011, which was well prior to the UCI informing the athlete or the public of their intent to prosecute a potential infraction.”

Since he has been cleared by his national federation, Rasmussen is – like Saxo Bank-SunGard’s Alberto Contador – free to race as the UCI appeal goes through. Should the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) find in the UCI’s favour though, he would potentially be liable for a suspension and his status as a Garmin-Cervélo rider would likely change.

“As of now, he has been cleared of any infraction, therefore we do not have any legal right to cancel, suspend, or discontinue his contract,” Vaughters explained.

“When the final verdict has been reached on this appeal, we will evaluate Alex's future with us, using the information given to us. However, as of today, he has been cleared, and we must function within the legal parameters of the system and respect the verdict of Danish anti-doping.

“Everyone has to follow the rules: riders, teams, anti-doping authorities, and the UCI,” Vaughters concluded. “If those rules are bent or changed for any one party, the sport becomes unfair and unjust to the other parties. Our path in this case will be to follow the rules and legal regulations set out for us.”

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