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Rasmussen says Garmin-Cervelo still wants him

By:
Cycling News
Published:
October 09, 2011, 12:52 BST,
Updated:
October 10, 2011, 16:59 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, October 9, 2011
Alex Rasmussen (HTC Highroad)

Alex Rasmussen (HTC Highroad)

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Vaughters said to want him after possible whereabouts violations suspension

Alex Rasmussen said that he will be with Garmin-Cervelo when his possible doping-related suspension is resolved.  The Dane said that Jonathan Vaughters still wants him, although the team had previously publicly said otherwise.

"I am not out. I've talked to Jonathan Vaughters, who decides in the end. He wants me on the team when I return," Rasmussen told spn.dk.

Last month, Rasmussen was suspended by the Danish Cycling Union and fired by HTC-Highroad after it was disclosed he had missed three out-of-competition doping controls in an 18-month period.  Rasmussen, 27, has said that the missed doping controls were due to sloppiness and a lack of organization on his part, and had nothing to do with doping.

It had earlier been announced that he would ride for Garmin-Cervelo in 2012, but the team told Cyclingnews that the contract had been annulled. “Our policy is stringent. In light of this situation, Alex Rasmussen will not be joining our team," a team spokesperson said after Rasmussen was suspended.

However, Rasmussen said, “I've heard that. But if I have Jonathan Vaughters' word that they'll keep me, it is most important. I have also spoken with some of the sports directors. They are all positive. I am very grateful that they still want to keep me after this.”

He faces a one-to-two year suspension for his whereabouts violations, but hopes to get off. In addition, his lawyer said he might get off with no suspension, because of a procedural error. "I only know what my lawyer tells me. And he believes that I will be acquitted. But I do not dare to build my hopes up. I would risk  being badly disappointed."

If he must be suspended, he hopes for a one-year ban, as of the date in April when he received the third warning. That would allow him to ride the Giro d'Italia, which starts in Denmark in 2012.

"Now I've missed the Worlds, so the next big thing is the Giro in Denmark with a prologue that fits really well for me. It couldn't be better. And if you get the lead on the first day, I don't think that you will lose it again before you get to Italy."

Danish Sports Federation director Lone Hansen said that that was a possibility.  “If it falls most favorably to Alex's side, he would get a minimum sentence of one year, effective from the day he received his third warning in April. Where appropriate, he may well achieve it," she said.  His hearing is scheduled for November 17.

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