Alex Rasmussen, who had been due to ride Stage 5 of the Tour of Britain today, has been sacked by HTC-Highroad after it discovered that the Danish rider had missed an out-of-competition doping test, thereby putting him in breach of the team’s code of conduct. He will not now join Garmin Cervelo, as had been planned.
HTC-Highorad, which is being wound up at the end of the season, added that it had been made aware of two other missed tests not previously disclosed to it from 2010, when the 27-year-old was with Saxo Bank.
Rasmussen, who was due to represent Denmark on home roads in the time trial at the world championships next week but has been suspended by his national federation, had signed a contract to join Garmin-Cervelo for the 2012 season.
Like HTC-Highroad, Jonathan Vaughters’ team has a strict anti-doping policy, and a spokesperson told road.cc: "Our policy is stringent. In light of this situation, Alex Rasmussen will not be joining our team.".
In a statement released this morning, HTC-Highroad had said: “Upon notification of a missed test, Alex Nikki Rasmussen's contract with HTC- Highroad has been terminated with immediate effect for breach of the team's code of conduct.
“The UCI, NOC and Sports Confederation of Denmark notified the team today that a missed test occurred and has been verified by a UCI review. 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.”
Rasmussen has enjoyed his greatest success on the track, winning world titles in the Madison, scratch race and team pursuit. In the latter event, he was a member of the Danish quartet that took Olympic silver in Beijing behind Great Britain.
Winner of the Philadelphia International this year, he also finished second to Garmin-Cervelo's David Millar in the closig day's individual time trial of the Giro d'Italia in Milan.
Team manager Rolf Aldag added: "Mr. Rasmussen missed a test and additionally did not inform the team. These are clear violations of the team's code of conduct. We act on these violations immediately."
Although the team made no mention of Rasmussen’s participation in the Tour of Britain, in which he lies in 86th place overall after yesterday’s Stage 4, the Dane will clearly take no further part in the race.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.