Third time lucky? Alex Rasmussen reported to be rejoining Garmin-Sharp now ban has ended
Dane was suspended for 18 months as a result of whereabouts violations
Danish cyclist Alex Rasmussen, who completed an 18-month suspension for whereabouts violations last week, has reportedly re-signed for Garmin-Sharp. The website Velo Veritas, which interviewed the 28-year-old in recent days, said yesterday evening that he had confirmed to it in a text message that he would be rejoining Jonathan Vaughters’ team.
If true, it will be the third time Rasmussen has attempted to get his career going at the American WorldTour outfit, which we have contacted for confirmation of the news.
He had already been announced as one of its signings for the 2012 season when news that he was facing disciplinary proceedings broke, while riding the 2011 Tour of Britain for HTC-Highroad, which immediately sent him home from the race.
Garmin subsequently announced that it would not be engaging the rider, but after he was cleared of wrongdoing by DIF, the Danish national Olympic committee, on the grounds that the UCI had failed to notify him of a third missed test within the required time, he signed a contract with the team.
The UCI appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, however, which in July last year handed the rider a partially backdated 18-month ban, leaving Garmin with no option but to terminate his contract.
Rasmussen, a multiple track world champion, missed two tests in 2010 when he was riding for Saxo Bank, the first of those because he was racing in Berlin but had said he would be in Denmark.
The second took place when he had gone home to attend his sister’s confirmation instead of being in Spain, the location he had logged in the World Anti Doping Agency's ADAMS database.
His third and final infraction happened in April 2011 due to late filing of his whereabouts information for the following quarter, which has to be submitted five days before the three-month period in question starts.
The popular rider is widely viewed by fellow pros as having been guilty more of a lack of organisation than anything else, although rules are of course rules and three strikes means you're out.
Rasmussen himself told Velo Veritas that the root of the problem lay in his failing to understand the ADAMS system when he began using it in 2011, with Saxo Bank having previously entered whereabouts information on riders' behalf, suggesting that perhaps there is greater need to train athletes in how to use it.
In a case that centred around UCI bureaucracy with that delay in communciating the third infraction, something that CAS ruled was irrelevant since he had after all failed to submit his information in time, there was a further sting in the tail for Rasmussen on the governing body's part.
He told Velo Veritas that the UCI had written to his manager and the Danish cycling federation that he would be free to return to competition from 26 January, factoring in his original 64-day suspension.
However, as the rider headed to the airport to join a Danish national team training camp ahead of the UCI Track World Championships in Minsk, word came through that the giverning body had got it wrong, and he would not be allowed to return to the sport until March.