Michael Rasmussen added to Biological Passport programme
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Michael Rasmussen added to Biological Passport programme

by Ben Atkins at 12:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen is to be added to the International Cycling Union’s (UCI’s) Biological Passport system, despite the fact that he neither rides for a ProTour nor a Professional Continental team. His new team, Miche, as a Continental team is not eligible to race in any of the sport’s biggest races; the Dane is nevertheless being treated the same as those in the top teams.

"We are currently finalising the list of riders in our test group that do not have a contract with a ProTour team or a professional continental team," said UCI press spokesman Enrico Carpani to Danish news agency SPN. “Michael Rasmussen is on the list and he will be added to our test group in the coming weeks."

Rasmussen was suspended for two years after lying about his whereabouts in the build up to the 2007 Tour de France; he claimed he was in Mexico but was spotted training in the Italian Dolomite mountains by former professional turned TV pundit Davide Cassani. He was eligible to return to racing last July but failed to secure a contract with any European teams. He instead raced in Mexico finishing in sixth place overall in the Vuelta a Chihuahua, including a win in the opening time trial.

Because of his eligibility for a return to racing, Carpani confirmed that Rasmussen was subject to out-of-competition testing. "Michael Rasmussen was included in our test group throughout his drug exclusion,” he confirmed. “He was also tested in 2009 [13 times], since we have considered that maybe he had the opportunity to return to professional cycling."

The UCI is also sensitive to the fact that Rasmussen could potentially join a ProTour or Professional Continental team in the June transfer window. Were he not part of the Biological Passport system he would not be eligible to race in any World Calendar races. Another incident like that of BMC Racing’s Alexander Kristoff, who was prevented from starting the Tour Down Under last month because of not having been tested out of competition, could be embarrassing.

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