Rasmussen “terminated” by HTC-Highroad

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.

9 thoughts on “Rasmussen “terminated” by HTC-Highroad”

  1. I will be very much interested to hear Rasmussen’s side of the story. Being my favorite team, I’ve cheered for HTC-Highroad in every race and for Rasmussen during the Giro this year. I feel let down by him and there are many more who will feel the same. Hope we could have a speedy resolution of his case.

  2. Guess the name Rasmussen is not the most popular surname in Danish cycling or politics at the moment. (Parlement Election today and present Statsminister (PM) Lars Løkke Rasmussen is probably going to step down as well).

    However, Jesper Worre (chairman of Danish Cycling Fed since 1995) now has some serious PR work to do as Alex Rasmussen is a 100% DCU product. Raised and developed in the anti doping conduct under DCU, multiple world champion and though he is known for being a “lots of power – no brain rider” he is also known for being a role model for the youngsters and a clean rider through out!

    Wonder how much fire Mr. Worre will light this time – compared to the fire he lit at Michael Rasmussen summer 07 in exact the same “where-about” scenario. Well, I guess nobody burns his own children, so a short press release saying that an AR case is being opened and a probably one year ban will be the outcome, might do the job for DCU.

    You failed Mr. Worre! Especially in educating your riders, so maybe it is time for you to step down as well! And as the three of you: Rasmussen, Rasmussen & Worre like to ride your bikes, you might as well go on a LONG trip together – as you seem to be getting some extra spare time coming up..

    (Sorry for you, Alex Rasmussen, that nobody (DCU) helped you out learning how to use a computer – but you will come back stronger than ever – maybe Christina Watches have a spot for you 2013)..

  3. The big question for me is did Mr 60% know about the missed tests last year and keep schtum at transfer time? Did the Scleck’s know and was this why he didn’t follow them to Leopard?

    As you said sad end for Highroad but they’ve done the right thing and perhaps Rasmussen’s only error is putting his head in the sand and not telling his boss, but their ethics are bob on.

  4. Gotta say in light of how many less tests the UCI are doing Alex is shit out of luck to get pinged for missing one.

    Pity to see a rider cop a ban for what seems like one of the easier requirements of being a Pro…

  5. Rasmussen has explained to Danish medias what has happened. I will spare you the embarrasing details. The point is that he didn’t do his paperwork. Now he must pay the price. There’s no reason to believe he tried to cheat anybody.

    @ Johnny: I don’t think it’s a big secret that Riis as well as Kim Andersen are sceptical about Rasmussens over all qualities as a bikerider. I don’t think either of them wanted Rasmussen on their team for 2011.

  6. just to add a bit of context:
    his now former boss Brian Holm is quoted that Alex is as innocent as he is stupid – revealing severall incidents such as forgetting his laptop at hotels in the tour of britain – once arriving late for a plane and missing a smaller tour – indicating that it is more a problem of a forgetable personality than actual dopong offences…

    according to Alex himself:
    his no shows are the following:
    in 2010 he went to the six day race in berlin without informing Danish anti-doping autorities –
    the second warning is more unclear – he jsut says the he was late to Inform the UCI about his whereabout in the 4th quarter of 2010….
    the 3rd no- show was the 1st of May now living in Girona,Spain/catalonia – Alex went to Denmark to celebrate his sisters confirmation – without informing the UCI – 3rd warming

    the first two warnings occured while racing for SaxoBank – and the last one racing for HTC – he is quoted to be to ashamed to tell his new bosses at HTC of his prior no shows with SaxoBank —

  7. Thanks for the extra comments there, it seems he has just been very stupid. But after you have warnings, you can’t make the mistakes.

    It’s personal view but often anti-doping controls seem to catch the idiots, the stupid and the inept whereas the ones on “preparation” and “programmes” never have a problem until the police get involved.

  8. The third no-show was on 1 May? This looks like yet another doping / whereabouts case that seems to have dragged on for months with seemingly no valid reason for the delays. Very worrying.

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