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Michael Rasmussen talks to the media before taking to the podium.
Dane back from two year ban
Michael Rasmussen has contested a cycling race for the first time since his International Cycling Union (UCI) suspension concluded on July 25. The Dane finished second to Aleksejs Saramotins (Team Designa Køkken) at the Designa Grand Prix in Kjellerup, Denmark.
While the UCI is pursuing Rasmussen for a fine of one year’s salary in a case that will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the governing body hasn’t yet opposed his return to racing. "As Mr Rasmussen has also appealed to the CAS to contest his pledge, the UCI has decided not to oppose Mr Rasmussen's return to competition, pending the CAS's judgment," the UCI told AFP.
Rasmussen’s return to cycling comes two years and two days after he won the Tour de France’s decisive stage 16, virtually assuring him of victory. That night he was fired by his Rabobank squad and secretly removed from the country as details of lies Rasmussen told over his whereabouts began to emerge.
Italian cycling commentator Davide Cassani, himself a former professional, revealed he has seen Rasmussen training in Italy’s Dolomites on June 13, 2007. Rasmussen’s whereabouts form, which is regularly submitted to the UCI for anti-doping purposes, had Rasmussen in Mexico at this time.
Rasmussen had appealed a Monaco Cycling Federation decision on July 1, 2008 to ban him for two years. The ban was upheld by CAS in January this year, seeing him banned from the sport for two years since his victory on the Col d’Aubisque.
See the full results and photos from Rasmussen's return here.