Michael Rasmussen claims attempted to dope with his father’s blood after advice from Geert Leinders
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Sunday, November 03, 2013

Michael Rasmussen claims attempted to dope with his father’s blood after advice from Geert Leinders

by Ben Atkins at 9:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
Danish rider also considered suicide after 2007 Tour de France ejection

michael rasmussenMichael Rasmussen attempted to use his father’s blood for homologous transfusions back in 2004, the former Danish rider has told TV channel DR News. The 39-year-old, whose biography is causing shockwaves across cycling, was riding for the Dutch Rabobank team at the time, and points the finger at then team doctor Geert Leinders - who went on to work for Team Sky between 2010 and 2012 - who he claims suggested the idea to him.

“In the Tour of Spain in 2003, I discovered that there was someone who was blood doping,” Rasmussen said in the interview to be screened on DK’s 21Søndag this evening. “I had never done it before, so I spoke with the team doctor at Rabobank about it.

At the time there was no test for homologous blood transfusions, which use somebody else’s blood to boost oxygen-carrying haematocrit levels, but one was successfully developed in 2004 that saw Phonak teammates Tyler Hamilton and Santiago Perez both caught during and after that year’s Vuelta a España.

Astana teammates Alexandr Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin were both also caught during and after the 2007 Tour de France but, at the time Rasmussen was considering the practice, there was perceived to be no risk.

“[Leinders] had done it earlier with two brothers who were compatible,” Rasmussen explained. “And if the blood was compatible, it was like mixing water with water, so there was no risk to health.

“He told me that I should see if I could get someone to agree to it, so I took courage and asked my dad.”

Unfortunately for Rasmussen, however, his attempt was unsuccessful, as tests showed that his father’s blood was not suitable for transfusion. “But if it had been compatible, we might have done it,” Rasmussen said.

The Tour de France of 2007 saw several doping cases, with Vinokourov’s blood doping forcing the withdrawal of his Astana team, and Christian Moreni’s testosterone positive seeing Cofidis pull out. The biggest scandal of all, however, was Rasmussen’s being ejected from the race by his own Rabobank team, while wearing the Maillot Jaune, when it emerged that he had deliberately lied to anti-doping authorities about his pre-Tour wherabouts.

The Tour was reeling from the scandal, but Rasmussen too was suffering, according to TV2‘s Sporten, as he reportedly tells DK News that he was considering suicide.

“I am looking all around my hotel room,” Rasmussen said. “Checking out every window and curtain rod to find a rope, so I can hang myself.”

Unable to do so, the Dane reportedly considered taking a team car out on the road and deliberately driving it head on into a truck.

“I was just a shirt, not a human, and there was no one really thought that this could have had fatal consequences for me,” he explained. “It was totally surreal, and I was so impotent that I wondered how I should take my own life. It was the only way I could see to go.”

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