Rasmussen confirms DNA was taken, is calm about the Humanplasma investigation
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rasmussen confirms DNA was taken, is calm about the Humanplasma investigation

by Conal Andrews at 6:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Double Tour de France King of the Mountains Michael Rasmussen has been implicated in the Humanplasma investigation, both through leaked reports of the riders suspected of being involved, and also by the former Gerolsteiner professional Bernhard Kohl.

However the Dane insists that he has nothing to be afraid of, and said that he has cooperated with the investigators. “Its not something that makes me shake in my pants,” he said, according to Feltet.dk.

“I was questioned in the police investigation of the case and I have handed over fingerprints and a DNA sample. That happened in August of last year and since then I have heard nothing.”

The Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has completed its investigation into the affair, which is centred around the Humanplasma blood bank in Vienna, and yesterday confirmed the name of the first cyclist connected with the case.

It said that Christian Pfannberger repeatedly had blood drawn in order to carry out doping, and also accused him of providing ‘forbidden substances to other athletes.’

The 30 year old Austrian is already serving a life ban after positive tests for testosterone and EPO. He could presumably face criminal charges if he is found guilty of dealing.

The NADA said this week that it was investigating up to 20 athletes and trainers, and that the first cases would be opened soon.

Kohl’s former manager Stefan Matschiner is suspected of being a central figure in the doping network, and the rider has already testified as such. He told investigators that he, Olympic cross-country skiing champion Christian Hoffman and Rasmussen had rented a room in the Austrian city of Linz in order to facilitate their blood doping. This admission was backed up in a report published by the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) last year.

Other riders who have been called to give evidence include Rasmussen’s former Rabobank team-mates Michael Boogerd, Thomas Dekker and Denis Menchov.

Kohl tested positive for the third generation EPO product CERA during the 2008 Tour de France. He finished third overall and took the King of the Mountains title, but was subsequently disqualified.

Rasmussen incurred a ban one year earlier when he lied about his whereabouts prior to the 2007 Tour de France. He claimed to be in Mexico but was actually training in Italy, thus making out of competition controls impossible to be carried out.

His Rabobank team bowed to pressure and withdrew him from a Tour he looked almost certain to win. He subsequently was givena two year ban, returning to racing last autumn. The Dane currently has mononucleosis and has temporarily stopped racing, but said that he hopes to transfer from his Miche team to a bigger squad and ride the Vuelta a España.

Investigations such as the HumanPlasma inquiry plus the UCI’s biological passport have increased pressure on those who have been using banned substances, thus making a cleaner sport more possible.

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