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Saxo Bank upset at Damsgaard criticism

Team spokesperson Brian Nygaard (r) defends the strong anti-doping programme at Saxo Bank.

Team spokesperson Brian Nygaard (r) defends the strong anti-doping programme at Saxo Bank. (Image credit: Anthony Tan)

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Saxo Bank is upset at the criticism of Rasmus Damsgaard, who runs the team's internal anti-doping programme, and what it sees as the implied criticism of the UCI's biological passport programme.

"The lack of respect and credit given to his work for us, and the lack of credit for the UCI is disturbing," team spokesman Brian Nygaard told Cyclingnews. "I am astonished that the UCI hasn't gotten more credit for the work it has done."

Nygaard noted that the team and Damsgaard started their programme before the introduction of the biological passport, and he considers the team programme a forerunner of it. "Their programme is similar to ours."

"A lot of people haven't realised how extreme this programme is. It could be described as a revolution," he said. "We helped to start it. We worked with the UCI to make the project better."

He continued, "The project is so special, and I see the harm being done to our sport by the unfounded criticism of this project and the biological passport. I hope that someday people will realise how radical the biological passport project is."

Nygaard also explained how the team came to give the researcher a team bike, an act which Damsgaard's former partner at Bispebjerg Hospital, Bo Belhage, considered violation of ethical standards and which compromised Damsgaard's objectivity. It was separate from the team's internal programme, Nygaard said.

"He did some extra work that was not part of the programme. He checked out some potential riders and went through their blood values. We actually ended up not signing some riders based on his work." The bike was payment for this additional work.

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