Rasmussen makes doping claims against Hesjedal, Sorensen, Høj and others
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Rasmussen makes doping claims against Hesjedal, Sorensen, Høj and others

by VeloNation Press at 7:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
States both Bjarne Riis and the UCI were aware of his use of banned substances but didn’t act

Michael RasmussenFormer pro Michael Rasmussen has made a range of allegations against others in the sport, saying that Ryder Hesjedal, Rolf Sorensen, Nicki Sørensen, Frank Høj and others used banned products, and that both Bjarne Riis and the UCI knew of his doping but did nothing about it.

The claims come in his new book Yellow Fever, from which extracts have been printed by the Danish publication BT.

Rasmussen was ejected from the 2007 Tour de France while looking almost certain to win overall, with his Rabobank team pulling him out over missed tests in the run up to the race. He continued to deny doping until earlier this year, when he finally admitted long term usage of banned substances.

His book now continues to detail what he took, but also makes claims against others.

One of the biggest names implicated by Rasmussen is the 2012 Giro d’Italia winner Hesjedal, with the claims relating back to the 2003 season. According to the Dane, the then-mountainbike rider Hesjedal plus fellow Canadians Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard took advice from him as regards the taking of banned substances.

He said the decision was prompted by their desire to ride the 2004 Olympic Games. “A good result in the world championships [2003] could send them to the Olympics in Athens in 2004. They moved into my basement in August, before I went to the Vuelta a Espana, and right after I had ridden the Meisterschaft von Zürich,” Rasmussen wrote in his upcoming book Yellow Fever, according to Politiken.

“There, they stayed around fourteen days time. I trained with them in the Dolomites and taught them how to made vitamin injections and how you took EPO and Synacthen [cortisone].”

He stated that the trio ended up with hemotocrit levels over 48, close to the limit of 50. After that, he said that Hesjedal finished second in the race, McGrath looked set to be between sixth or eighth but dropped out and Sheppard was sixteenth. He said the riders each received money from the Canadian government and that Hesjedal would have taken Olympic gold the following year had he not punctured.

Politiken stated that the co-author of Yellow Fever Klaus Wivel contacted the Canadian riders. It said that Garmin Sharp rider Hesjedal did not reply, while neither Sheppard nor McGrath would comment.

Rasmussen also implicates former Danish team-mate Frank Høj, saying that he smuggled cortisone into the Olympic village in 2004, hiding the ampoules in a MP3 player. Rasmussen said that he was provided with the substance by Høj and the two riders used it, and that Nicki Sørensen likely also took it.

Høj has issued a statement to BT.dk denying the story, saying that similar details had been printed in Politiken in March, and that information had appeared to have leaked from information given by Rasmussen to Danish and foreign anti-doping authorities.

He said that he declined to comment then as he wanted to respect the process that was in place, and that he had told Anti Doping Denmark that he had not smuggled illegal doping substances into the Olympic village, and that he was not aware anyone else had done that.

“I'm speechless, frustrated and of course deeply saddened that Michael Rasmussen will appear with such a violent and defamatory fictional story about me. I can only regret that there clearly are people who will say anything to get their suspension for doping reduced while removing focus from their own mistakes.”

He pointed out that Rasmussen had admitted to systematic doping throughout his career, and previously stated that he had no regrets.

“It is sad to note that not all have competed on equal terms, as I have said before. I could have wished that some things had ended differently.

“Michael Rasmussen chose a career as an active cyclist based on deception and lies and says that this did not cause him remorse. In any case it is a known fact that Mr Rasmussen has repeatedly been a little careless in his handling of the truth , especially if it has served him a purpose. I am sorry to say that from the extract of his book, to which I have had access, apparently continues in the track.”

He said that he was ‘deeply shocked’ and that for the sake of himself and his family, would comment no further on the subject of doping in his generation of riders. Høj added that he rejected suggestions that the successful riders of the modern era are doped, saying that the young Danish riders now are stronger and more talented than any before them.

More allegations:

Rasmussen’s book also makes claims against Rolf Sorensen, Bjarne Riis, Nicki Sørensen and the UCI. He said that he shared a hotel room with Rolf Sorensen at the 2003 world championships in Lisbon, and that two days before the race he gave Rasmussen 0.15 millilitres of the untraceable cortisone Synacthen.

The former pro declined to respond to the claim.

Namesake Nicki Sørensen has also been implicated by Rasmussen after he made claims that the duo were training in Mallorca prior to the 2003 season, and that Rasmussen advised Sørensen that he could buy EPO and growth hormones in a pharmacy in Llucmajor.

He wrote that Sørensen borrowed a CSC car and that the two of them went to the pharmacy, where Rasmussen was greeted by the pharmacist who had served him several ties before.

“We purchased the necessary supplies of EPO and growth hormones and Nicki flew back home with the substances via the airport in Pisa,” states Rasmussen.

He said that he went to Sørensen’s home in Tuscany two weeks later to collect his share, but that the latter was so frightened of being caught that he had buried the substances in the garden.

Sørensen said that he had no comments to make about the book, and that he had cooperated with Anti Doping Denmark on their ongoing investigation. “I went to see them last week, and I told them about my career as a rider. I have thus told them everything that’s important for them to know,” he stated, saying that he would not give details of what he told ADD.

Writing about Bjarne Riis, who was his team manager when Rasmussen was part of CSC in 2002, the Danish rider said that Riis was present when Tyler Hamilton received a shot of Synacthen, and that he had no objections when Rasmussen decided to also take a 0.2 millilitre show.

However perhaps the most explosive claim was his accusation that the UCI had not acted in 2005 when the Danish rider had clear signs of doping during that year’s Tour. He writes that his value of immature red blood cells [reticulocytes] was just 0.23, under the minimum threshold of 0.3. However he stated that the UCI let him continue in the race, even though there were other suspicious samples.

Rasmussen won the mountain stage to Mulhouse in that Tour, won the King of the Mountains jersey to Paris and was sitting third overall until he had a disastrous final time trial and dropped to seventh overall.

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