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Year-long investigation likely to reveal the full extent of doping in Denmark
Just like Tyler Hamilton’s book was a warning of what would later emerge in the USADA reasoned decision, Michael Rasmussen’s Yellow Fever book has added details to doping practices that were widely suspected of going on in Danish cycling and more widely in the sport.
Like Hamilton, Rasmussen has already given anti-doping authorities details about his own doping plus information on those who did it with him and helped him for so long during his career.
Rasmussen was given a two-year ban for his doping sins but avoided a longer sentence because he helped Anti-Doping Denmark (ADD) and the Danish Sports Federation (DIF) with a list of names and details. That information sparked the much more detailed investigation, with Bjarne Riis apparently at the centre of it all. Rasmussen has also accused former teammates Nicki Sorensen, Frank Hoj and Rolf Sorensen, former Rabobank and Team Sky doctor Geert Leinders and others of doping or knowing about his own doping.
Riis has confessed to doping during his own career but has never discussed his involvement with the doping of Laurent Jalabert, Ivan Basso, Tyler Hamilton, Rasmussen and many others. He has used the ongoing investigation as a defence against responding to claims he was complicit in doping with his riders.
Excerpts from Rasmussen’s book has sparked an avalanche of doping headlines in Denmark and revealed new details of his doping. However the full investigation by ADD and DIF reportedly goes much further. Investigators have apparently co-operated with anti-doping agencies in the United States, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Spain and Germany. It seems a wide range of evidence, as well as direct testimony has been gathered.
"We have done so much of our work that it does not matter that Michael Rasmussen publishes his book now," Morten Mølholm Hansen of the DIF and one of the four-person group leading the investigation told the Politiken newspaper.
"Our job is not to just base things on a single random testimony, but to see if there are things that can confirm it. And moreover, to assess the reliability of the testimony.”
"In nine months, we have investigated many of the things that Michael has told us. Therefore his book hasn’t damaged our work. Furthermore, our investigation covers much more than Michael Rasmussen. He set it going but we’ve covered more and more directions.”
Many of the accusations of doping may have happened more than eight years ago and so fall outside the stature of limitations for disciplinary action but the DIF is determined carry out a thorough investigation.
"Our purpose is two-fold: First, we will learn more about what has happened, but it is clear that if we encounter things that make it possible to take action within the limitation period of eight years, we have a commitment to it,” Mølholm Hansen said.