GENEVA, July 23, 2009 (AFP) – World cycling’s governing body said Thursday that it “strongly rejects” banned rider Michael Rasmussen’s refusal to contribute to the costs of anti-doping procedures, shortly before a planned comeback.
The International Cycling Union said that while it would not oppose Rasmussen’s decision to return to competition, it believed that the Danish cyclist should stay away until he has paid the sum.
The Dane’s two year suspension on a charge related to dope testing expires on Saturday.
The UCI pointed out that by signing the “Riders’ commitment to a new cycling,” Rasmussen had committed to paying the equivalent of his annual salary to the campaign if he was suspended for two years or more for doping.
However, he failed to pay the sum committed according to the UCI.
While putting forward its position that Rasmussen should therefore stay away from competition, the UCI noted however that another banned rider Alexandre Vinokourov did not pay up, but had appealed to world sports top court CAS.
The court had ruled that Vinokourov should be allowed to return to competition pending a ruling on whether riders should be obliged to honor their signed commitments.
“As Mr Rasmussen has also appealed to the CAS to contest his pledge, the UCI has decided not to oppose Mr Rasmussen’s return to competition, pending the CAS’s judgment,” said the UCI.
“Nonetheless, the UCI strongly rejects the attitude displayed by Messrs Vinokourov and Rasmussen; despite committing serious violations of the anti-doping rules they have rejected any form of reparation by refusing to contribute to the costs of anti-doping procedures,” it added.
Rasmussen was thrown off the 2007 Tour de France by his team, Rabobank, while wearing the leader’s yellow jersey for lying about his whereabouts the previous month when he was being sought out for doping tests.