Alex Rasmussen back in action tonight, wants Olympic place
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Alex Rasmussen back in action tonight, wants Olympic place

by VeloNation Press at 8:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Track
 
Danish rider returns to competition after whereabouts incident

Alex RasmussenOne week after the UCI indicated that it would appeal his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Alex Rasmussen will make his 2011/2012 track season debut this evening when he competes in the Danish national track championships in Ballerup.

The 27 year old will line out with his regular racing partner Michael Morkov in the Madison, where he will attempt to win what would be his eighth consecutive gold medal in the event.

While it is a goal in itself, it is also the first step in a process which he hopes will see him compete in the London Olympics.

“The plan is that I will do the World Cup in Beijing in the middle of January. It is one of those events where there are Olympic qualification points at stake, but it's not them that I go after,” he explained to Politiken. “It's all about [the rule] that you must have participated in one of these events to get to the start of the Olympics.”

He has suggested that he may ride the sprint there in order to get the World Cup participation on the cards. “Then I can enter a four kilometre team pursuit in London, if it happens,” he said.

The track and road specialist has not raced for three and a half months due to the whereabouts violations case which was first announced during his participation in the Tour of Britain. This led to his firing from the HTC Highroad team, his suspension from racing and the possibility of a lengthy ban.

However Rasmussen was cleared in November by the Danish Sports Federation, which determined that the UCI hadn’t followed its own rules on the procedure involving riders who had three whereabouts strikes against them.

“The UCI took ten weeks to report the infringement to the athlete, while the international standard dictates a deadline of 14 days,” said Torben Jessen, president of the Danish Sports Federation's doping tribunal, on November 17th.

The UCI indicated last week that it would appeal the decision. Rasmussen’s Garmin-Cervélo team has said that for now, it is legally bound to follow the contract that was signed earlier this year, and would accept whatever the final decision is.

Tonight’s race will enable the Dane to get back into the rhythm of racing, although his long break means that he may find things more difficult than in previous championships.

Morkov’s younger brother Jasper, interviewed recently by VeloNation’s Ed Hood, plus his racing partner Marc Hester are regarded as two big threats to the Rasmussen/Morkov combination.

He knows that the gold medal is not certain, but is just happy to be back racing. “The only thing I think of right now is to get started again. I'm really looking forward to being back,” he said. “I believe that I will be acquitted by the CAS.”

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