Alex Rasmussen free to race again as suspension ends, no team announcement yet
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Alex Rasmussen free to race again as suspension ends, no team announcement yet

by VeloNation Press at 8:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Rider had been linked to possible moves to Garmin-Sharp or Movistar

Alex RasmussenDanish rider Alex Rasmussen is ready to race again, with his eighteen month suspension for whereabouts violations expiring last night. The time trial and Classics specialist indicates he’s eager to get back into the peloton and is even willing to race in Sunday’s La Primavera, but for now no team has been announced.

“I can say that I feel sure I will race again very quickly,” he told Politiken, but confirmed he could not give details as yet. “If I can't be more specific, it is because I do not want to announce something as if it is definite, when there is no signed agreement. And there is not yet.”

Rasmussen has been linked to talks with two teams; the first is his former squad Garmin-Sharp, with whom he raced until July 2012, while the second is the Spanish Movistar team. His strength against the clock is likely a big part of any squad’s consideration, not least because he can boost prospects in team time trials in stage races and at the world championships.

Rasmussen has been training hard from his base in Girona, getting in a six hour ride this week. He said that he’d jump at the chance to compete.

“If someone came and asked me if I was ready to race the Milan-Sanremo on Sunday, I would say yes without any delay,” he said. “It shows how eager I am to get started again, although it might be asking a bit much to embark on a mission that is 300 kilometres.

“I probably won’t get such a request at such a short notice,” he added. “On the other hand, maybe I could do the Dwaars door Vlaanderen next Wednesday and Gent-Wevelgem next Sunday. It would be great if it was true.”

Rasmussen's history relating to whereabouts issues:

Rasmussen was a member of the HTC Highroad team in 2011 but his racing there came to an end when he was sent home from that year’s Tour of Britain over whereabouts issues which had come to light.

The three issues related to an unsuccessful attempt at carrying out a control on February 1st 2010, resulting in a warning from Anti-Doping Denmark, a late submission of whereabouts information in October 2010, and then a failed attempt at carrying out a control on April 28th 2011.

He explained the issues in an interview with VeloNation’s Ed Hood in July 2012. “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,” he said.

“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 should have resulted in quick action by the UCI but the governing body dragged things out far longer than its own rules dictate. This was used as the basis for the Danish Sports Federation's doping tribunal dismissing his case in November 2011.

“[The case against] Alex Rasmussen is dismissed because his third violation of the whereabouts rules were notified too late and thus there is no longer any case. The UCI took ten weeks to report the infringement to the athlete, while the international standard dictates a deadline of fourteen days,” it stated then.

However the UCI appealed this to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled that the UCI did indeed break its own rules, but that this delay was not sufficient to drop the case. It handed Rasmussen a partially-backdated eighteen month suspension in July 2012, which expired yesterday.

He has maintained that his case was one caused by disorganisation on his part rather than anything more sinister, and is determined to clock up a result as soon as possible and get his career back on track. He told Politiken that he isn’t just aiming to get back to the bunch and be able to ride there, but rather to try to prove his value as a rider as soon as possible.

The next step though is the signing of a contract and the announcement of his next team. After that his schedule will be determined, and he’ll get back into action.

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