Here’s the press release issued by the HTC-Highroad team. I don’t normally copy n’paste press releases but many were asking what is happening via twitter and so here’s the press release and some thoughts from myself tacked on below.
Rasmussen Terminated For Missed Test
San Luis Obispo, California, 15th September 2011 - Upon notification of a missed test, Alex Nikki Rasmussen’s contract with HTC- Highroad has been terminated with immediate effect for breach of the team’s code of conduct.
The UCI, NOC and Sports Confederation of Denmark notified the team today that a missed test occurred and has been verified by a UCI review. The Team was also notified that Rasmussen had two missed tests in 2010 prior to joining HTC-Highroad that had not been previously reported to the team.
“Mr. Rasmussen missed a test and additionally did not inform the team. These are clear violations of the team’s code of conduct. We act on these violations immediately” said Team Manager Rolf Aldag.
I’ll add a bit of context here. First, that Alex Rasmussen was riding with Saxo Bank in 2010 where two of the missed tests seem to have happened and it seems the Highroad management was not informed of this. Now there’s been a third “no show” or similar event and the team has terminated his contract in accordance with their internal regulations. The rules state if three “Whereabouts Failures” occur within 18 months then this constitutes an “anti-doping rule violation” and a ban from competition looms.
Right now the Danmarks Cykle Union states he has missed two Danish anti-doping controls and one by the UCI. He is suspended from competition and will therefore leave the Tour of Britain and he’s not going to ride the World Championships on home soil either. The Danish Sports Federation doping tribunal will prosecute.
Looking forward, the Dane was due to join Garmin for 2012 but this looks unlikely. Rasmussen needs to explain how the Whereabouts Failures were wholly outside of his control. But normally when a rider misses a control they are asked to explain themselves at the first instance and not after the third time.
It’s all a bit of a sorry end note for the Highroad team. For years the squad had carefully avoided any bad news, to see the anti-doping rules being cited here is something nobody can enjoy.
Finally, please don’t leap to conclusions here. HTC-Highroad have strict internal rules and Rasmussen has breached these. But for now the Danish authorities will hold a hearing and this is where things will be debated.