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UCI suspends Michael Rasmussen for lying

Rasmussen is facing a two-year suspension

Rasmussen is facing a two-year suspension

Photo: AFP (file photo)

Denmark’s Michael Rasmussen, who was thrown out while leading the 2007 Tour de France for lying about his whereabouts, has been banned for two years by the Monaco cycling federation, the sport’s world governing body UCI said on Tuesday.

In a case brought by the UCI in February, a three-member panel organized under the authority of the Monaco Cycling Federation, ruled that Rasmussen had intentionally misled doping authorities regarding his location in the lead-up to last year’s Tour.

A UCI spokesman said the UCI had received notification of the ban from the Monaco federation, with whom Rasmussen has a licence, during the day Tuesday. The ban will run from the date of his exclusion of last year’s Tour and hence will run till July 25 2009.

The FMC president Daniel Bottero told AFP last Thursday he had given his recommendations to the FMC’s board that day, a month after meeting Rasmussen on May 28.

Rasmussen, who holds his racing license in the principality, has been the center of a media firestorm since last year’s Tour de France when it was revealed that he missed out-of-competition tests in a lead-up to the 2007 edition.

His Rabobank team removed him from the race just hours after he won Stage 16, all but securing overall victory with just four days left to the Tour’s conclusion in Paris.

UCI rules require riders to provide accurate information about their whereabouts and to be available to anti-doping controls on a 24-hour basis. Missing out-of-competition tests can result in a two-year racing ban.

Rasmussen’s accounts of his whereabouts in the weeks ahead of the 2007 Tour had been rife with inconsistencies until he conceded that he had lied “for personal and marital reasons” last November.

“First of all, I would like to clearly state that I was not in Mexico in June,” Rasmussen said at a November, 2007, press conference in Denmark. “I have therefore misinformed both the UCI and the public. It is, however, important for me to stress that at no point did I lie to the team Rabobank.”

Rasmussen first insisted he was training in Mexico, but later admitted that he was on training camps in the Alps and Pyrenees with the full knowledge of Rabobank management.

Instead of training in Mexico as he previously stated, Rasmussen admitted he was in Italy between June 4-19. He also confirmed that he met Italian TV journalist Davide Cassani, an admission that helped auger his hasty removal from the Tour last July.

From June 20-23, he traveled to the Alps and was in the Pyrenees from June 25 with Rabobank teammate Denis Menchov and a team soigneur. He also said he met personally with team sport director Erik Breukink on June 7 in Bergamo, Italy.

Rasmussen was unavailable for comment.

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