Rasmussen expecting Grand Tour return in 2010

Michael Rasmussen expects to announce his new professional squad by week’s end, signaling his return to the professional peloton in Europe. The Danish rider hasn’t yet signed an agreement with his new squad but has told Danish media he expects everything to be in order by Saturday’s International Cycling Union (UCI) deadline.

"I feel as confident as you can be that I will be riding a Grand Tour,” he told Berlingske Tidende. “I am more than satisfied with the outlook for next year. The Giro [d’Italia] looks mighty interesting and the Vuelta [a Espana] also tends to be good for me.

“In February I expect to be riding the Ruta del Sol for my next employer,” he added. “I won’t say what team it will be until it is permanently in place, but I expect that to happen by the UCI’s deadline of October 31.”

Rasmussen has been racing in South America with Tecos-Trek since returning from his two year ban. The rider had attempted to start the Vuelta a España in August, however race organiser Unipublic moved to prevent the former Tour de France leader from starting its race. Unipublic issued Rasmussen a letter citing an International Cycling Union (UCI) rule that riders must be registered with a qualified team at least 20 days before a race starts.

While Rasmussen is confident of returning to the professional peloton next year he has admitted he’ll be earning significantly less than prior to the 2007 Tour de France, where he started as a general classification contender for Rabobank. "Although the wages are way below what I earned before my suspension, it will not be like starting from scratch again,” he said.

Rasmussen was dumped by his Dutch squad while leading the 2007 Tour de France, almost certain of victory, and flown out of the country. The controversial dumping came as new information was revealed, indicating that Rasmussen had lied on his whereabouts form - used by the international federation to track riders’ movements for anti-doping purposes.

The Monegasque Cycling Federation subsequently, which held Rasmussen’s license, suspended him for two years, which expired at the end of July.

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