Alex Rasmussen wants to return to Garmin – Sharp after whereabouts ban ends
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Alex Rasmussen wants to return to Garmin – Sharp after whereabouts ban ends

by Shane Stokes at 5:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Time trial specialist names Giro d’Italia and Tour of Denmark as big targets

Alex RasmussenFired by Garmin – Sharp on July 4th after he was given a partially-backdated 18 month ban over whereabouts violations, Alex Rasmussen is in contact with the team and is hoping to be taken back on its roster when his current suspension ends next April.

The Danish rider vowed not to retire when he was handed the ban and has continued to train in order to be ready for his return to the sport.

“I have contacted Garmin, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it can turn into something, but I have yet to get a response from them,” he told Sporten.dk. However while there has not been a formal answer, he added that he had spoken to the team’s general manger Jonathan Vaughters and that he had been told that there is one vacant place on the team.

The team is yet to decide what will happen in relation to that slot. However Vaughters had previously said that he didn’t believe that Rasmussen’s whereabouts issues were due to doping, but rather down to his being disorganised.

The 28 year old was a member of the HTC Highroad team in 2011 but was sent home from that year’s Tour of Britain when the whereabouts issues came to light. Under WADA and UCI rules, riders have to post details in advance of where they will be located so that out of competition testing can be carried out.

Rasmussen's first whereabouts violation happened on February 1st 2010, when an unsuccessful attempt at carrying out a doping control led to a warning by Anti-Doping Denmark, dated February 16th.

The second incident took place in October of 2010, when his whereabouts information was submitted late. He was warned again by ADD in a letter dated October 26th. The third incident was on April 28th of last year when there was a failed attempt at a doping control.

He explained the circumstances in an interview with VeloNation’s Ed Hood on July 6th. “When I rode for Saxo Bank in 2009/10 we had our own system for whereabouts, but then in 2011 the system changed to ADAMS (Anti-Doping & Management System) and I didn’t really fully understand it.

“That was what caused the problem when I was riding in Berlin at the six days [the first whereabouts violation – ed.]; I thought that you just updated the information – but you have to ‘submit,’ which I failed to do.

“The second one came about because I was a day or two late submitting what we call our ‘quarters’ – that’s the information regarding where we’re going to be for the next three months. The third one was my fault, I went back to Denmark from Girona and I forgot to update – no excuses.”

The latter incident led to a warning from the UCI but that was communicated to him in a letter dated August 18th, far later than the UCI’s own regulations stipulate. Despite that, the governing body requested action by the Danish federation on September 13th 2011. The latter studied the issue but then decided to clear the rider on November 17th 2011 because the UCI had not followed its rules.

“The UCI took ten weeks to report the infringement to the athlete, while the international standard dictates a deadline of fourteen days,” stated Torben Jessen, president of the Danish Sports Federation's doping tribunal, at the time.

The governing body appealed that verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and in July of this year, the court announced its ruling. It acknowledged the UCI was not without blame, but said that laxity in procedure did not outweigh Rasmussen’s own failings.

“The CAS ruled that the procedural mistake (delay in communications) did not change the fact that an anti-doping test was missed by Alex Rasmussen after he had committed two other failures for which he had received proper notice,” it stated.

“Accordingly, the CAS has partially upheld UCI's appeal and has imposed a suspension of eighteen months on the rider, commencing on 1 October 2011 (less the period of the provisional suspension that he has already served). Furthermore, the results achieved by Alex Rasmussen in the period from 28 April 2011 to 14 September 2011 (start date of his provisional suspension) will not be disqualified.”

Rasmussen competed for Garmin – Sharp earlier this season and helped it to victory in the Giro d’Italia team time trial. While he lost his own results for this period, including second in the GP de Denain Porte du Hainaut, third on the first stage of Tirreno – Adriatico and third and fourth in individual time trial stages of the Giro d’Italia, the squad retained its Giro success.

He is clear that he wants to resume racing with that squad if it is possible to do so. “I would most like to return to Garmin, so it is my top priority,” he told Sporten.dk. “I felt really good on the team, and I also think I made some good results, so I think we fit well together. If we do not succeed, I must find something else.

“I am super motivated to race again. I would like to do the Giro d'Italia for the third time, to do a good race, and it would be a good way for me to start the season up. And I have not ridden the Tour of Denmark for some years, so I want to return and win some stages.”

Garmin – Sharp is a member of the Movement for a Credible Cycling, a collection of teams which voluntarily subscribe to tougher anti-doping regulations than the WADA and UCI codes specify.

The MPCC has a rule whereby riders who serve suspensions greater than six months should not be signed up by a member team for an additional two years after their return. However whereabouts cases are exempt from this requirement, meaning that Rasmussen could in theory be taken on board.

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