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Michael Rasmussen, infamously sacked from his Rabobank team while leading the 2007 Tour de France, has admitted doping throughout his professional career.
“I used doping products and methods from 1998 to 2010,” Ramussen admitted at a press conference in Herning, according to public television DR.
Anti Doping Denmark issued a press release Thursday outlining the cooperation it had received from the rider over two interrogations in the last week.
“Following a dialogue with Anti Doping Denmark, Michael Rasmussen has decided to cooperate with the anti-doping authorities and tell everything about his experiences with doping,” the agency said. “In this context, interrogations of Michael Rasmussen have been conducted last week in Amsterdam and this week in Copenhagen.
“Rasmussen has confessed to have used doping throughout most of his career, including in 2007 when he wore the yellow jersey in the Tour de France and when he was unavailable for out-of-competition testing in the crucial period prior to the race,” said the agency.
“According to Michael Rasmussen, his use of doping has taken place continuously from 1998 to 2010. The prohibited substances include, among others, EPO, cortisone, hormones, and blood transfusions.
“The Doping Commission of the NOC of Denmark now opens a doping case against Rasmussen, and the case will be raised before the independent panel (the Doping Tribunal of the NOC) when all conditions are met. Within a few days, Michael Rasmussen will receive a temporary suspension.”
Rasmussen, who won four individual stages on the Tour de France, said he was ready to accept any ban he risked by coming clean, a decision he said had left him a “relieved man.”
Rabobank withdrew Rasmussen, in the yellow jersey, from the 2007 Tour after anti-doping authorities questioned his whereabouts leading up to the race. He later confessed to having misrepresented his location to doping testers. Rasmussen has denied that he used banned products and methods, but an international investigation led him to reconsider, according to Anti Doping Denmark.
“The interrogations of Michael Rasmussen have taken place in a groundbreaking cooperation between the national anti-doping organizations of Denmark (Anti Doping Denmark and the NOC and Sports Confederation of Denmark), The Netherlands (Doping Autoriteit) and the USA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) and WADA,” said Anti Doping Denmark.
“I would like to thank our colleagues from the U.S. and the Netherlands and WADA for excellent cooperation,” said agency CEO Lone Hansen. “The investigations of doping cases have improved very much recently, and this case is an excellent example of the implications of the work initiated by USADA’s investigation.”
The move was a “definitive break with the past,” said Claus Hembo, the sporting director of Rasmussen’s Christina Watches-Onfone team.
“We want to take the initiative and encourage riders who doped to come forward,” Hembo said.
Editor’s note: Agence France Presse contributed to this report.