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Alex Rasmussen (HTC Highroad)
Dane cleared due to procedural error
The Danish Olympic Committee (DIF) doping tribunal today chose not to sanction Alex Rasmussen for missing three out of competition doping controls in an 18-month period. The tribunal cleared the 27-year-old Dane due to a procedural error committed by the Union Cycliste International (UCI) regarding the third missed doping control on April 28, 2011.
The UCI took 10 weeks to notify Rasmussen of the violation in a letter dated August 18, 2011, but the organization's own rules stipulate that a rider must be informed within a 14-day window.
"Alex Rasmussen is dismissed because his third violation of the whereabouts rules were notified too late and thus there is no longer any case," Torben Jessen, president of the DIF's doping tribunal, told feltet.dk. "The UCI spent 10 weeks to report the infringement to an athlete, while the international standard dictates a deadline of 14 days."
Rasmussen, 27, was suspended by the Danish Cycling Union and released by HTC-Highroad in September. It had previously been announced that he would ride for Garmin in 2012, but Jonathan Vaughters said that it had annulled his contract. Rasmussen later said that the team was still interested in him, depending on the outcome of the hearing.
The case stems from three missed out-of-competition doping controls, and his problems in reporting his whereabouts as required. The first one was in February 2010, when he was still with Team SaxoBank. He claimed that he had the online form filled out but forgot to press the “send” button. When informed of the matter at the time, he explained the circumstances and mistakenly believed that the warning was cancelled.
The second incident came eight months later when he submitted his whereabouts for the fourth quarter of the year too late. He had no excuse for that one, saying he was just forgetful.
He had only one warning, he tried to be more careful, but it didn't work out. In April of this year he traveled from his home in Girona, Spain, to Denmark without changing his whereabouts, resulting in another missed doping control. That made three violations within 18 months, and according to regulations that requires a sanction.
There has never been any indication that Rasmussen was in any way involved with doping. He himself has blamed his “stupid mistakes” to sloppiness and disorganisation on his part. Current and former teammates have supported that view, confirming his lack of organisational skills.
Rasmussen has said that he believes he deserved a suspension, and that he would accept the National Sports Federation's ruling, which he would not appeal in any way.