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Michael Rasmussen (Christina Watches-Ofone) wins stage 3
Shorter than expected punishment after cooperation with authorities
Michael Rasmussen received a two-year suspension yesterday for his use of banned substances. He will be handed a shorter ban than expected because he cooperated with the Danish anti-doping authorities.
The Danish rider who had to leave the Tour de France in the yellow jersey in 2007 because he had not been at the location he had indicated in his whereabouts and later admitted to having used doping products almost his entire career, will be suspended until February 2015. Originally, an eight-year ban was proposed.
Rasmussen confessed to doping during talks with the Danish sports federation in January of this year. In a televised press conference, he admitted to having taken EPO, human growth hormone, insulin, cortisone and blood transfusions between 1998 and 2010.
He was suspended on February 8 of this year for a period of eight years. The ban will be reduced to two years because he cooperated with the authorities.
Rasmussen not only talked extensively about his own use of doping but also informed the anti-doping authority of widespread doping in the sport. The results of this investigation in which current Saxo-Tinkoff manager Bjarne Riis plays an important role, are in the final stages. The report will be published later this year or early 2013.
According to the rules, Rasmussen should lose some of his results per the eight-year statute of limitations, as calculated from his January 2013 confession date. He would lose his two polka dot jerseys and four stage wins from the Tour de France, but would keep victories like his stage wins in the Vuelta and Dauphine and his 1999 mountain bike world championship.
He is also still eligible to become Christina Watches-Onfone's sport director after he serves his ban. Team manager Claus Hembo indicated in January that Rasmussen is welcome to work with the team.
In an interview with TV2 today, Rasmussen said he was disappointed with the decision of the Danish sports federation. "I had hoped the authorities would have followed the recommendation to let the suspension start in September of 2012. That's when I rode my last race in China. Now it means it will be another five months before I can start working with the team."