Alex Rasmussen fired by HTC-Highroad after missed anti-doping test
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Alex Rasmussen fired by HTC-Highroad after missed anti-doping test

by Ben Atkins at 3:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Failure to notify team breaches code of conduct

alex rasmussenAlex Rasmussen has been fired by HTC-Highroad with immediate effect, thanks to a failure to notify the team of a missed anti-doping test. The Danish track specialist, who is a four-time World champion, joined the American team this year, having spent his first two years as a professional at the Saxo Bank team.

The Dane also missed two tests in 2010, making a total of three inside an 18-month period, which can be treated in the same way as a positive test. He has been provisionally suspended by the Danish Cycling Union (DCU), pending a tribunal to decide on a possible ban. He is currently riding for the team in the Tour of Britain, but will not start the fifth stage today.

“The UCI, NOC [National Olympic Committee – ed] and Sports Confederation of Denmark notified the team today that a missed test occurred and has been verified by a UCI review,” reads the HTC-Highroad statement. “The Team was also notified that Rasmussen had two missed tests in 2010 prior to joining HTC-Highroad that had not been previously reported to the team.”

After Bob Stapleton’s Highroad organisation took over the former T-Mobile team in 2006, as it reeled from various doping scandals from its past, the American introduced a strict anti-doping regimen. While missing a single test in itself does not constitute a doping offence, the fact that Rasmussen did not let the team know of the fact is a breach of its own rules.

"Mr. Rasmussen missed a test and additionally did not inform the team,” explained team manager Rolf Aldag. “These are clear violations of the team's code of conduct. We act on these violations immediately."

While short of personal results this season, Rasmussen has been one of the team’s hard workers, leading the peloton for long periods as HTC-Highroad looked to set up super-sprinter Mark Cavendish. He and American teammate Danny Pate were fixtures on the front of the bunch during the flatter stages in the first half of the race, where Cavendish won twice.

His one victory of the year was a big one however, as he won the Philadelphia International Championship in June; he also finished second in time trial stages of the Giro d’Italia, the Ster ZLM Toer and the Eneco Tour this season. He would have been one of the top favourites for a medal in the World championship time trial in his home capital Copenhagen.

The HTC-Highroad team is folding at the end of the season due to team owner Stapleton’s inability to secure a replacement sponsor, . Like the vast majority of the team, Rasmussen had secured a place at another team next season; he is due to join Garmin-Cervélo, which also has a strict anti-doping regime. However, he could instead be facing a long suspension from the sport, as per UCI and WADA rules.

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