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"I discussed my use of EPO and growth hormone with the team doctors. They usually told me to stop using a doping product when it became detectable. But if you only used insulin or growth hormone, they didn't care," Rasmussen w...

Photo: Sirotti








30.10.2013 @ 10:16 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Following his admission of doping activities during most of his career, former Tour de France king of the mountains Michael Rasmussen has detailed his practices in a new book that will be published next week. He claims systematic doping on his former CSC-Tiscali team and that team owner Bjarne Riis was fully aware of what was going on.


Earlier this year, Michael Rasmussen admitted to using several doping products throughout most of his career, accepted his subsequent suspension and started to work together with the Danish anti-doping authorities that had started an investigation into possible doping at the team currently known at Team Saxo-Tinkoff. At the time, Rasmussen was rumoured to have named several riders and team managers but didn't drag anyone through the mud publicly.


On Monday, Rasmussen will give his detailed version of a his career and experiences with doping when his book "Yellow fever" will be published in Denmark. Danish media have had the chance to read excerpts from the book and reveal that the Dane is accusing Team Saxo-Tinkoff team owner Bjarne Riis of being fully aware of systematic doping on his team.


Rasmussen joined the team then known as CSC-Tiscali in late 2001 and rode for the squad until the end of 2002. According to Rasmussen, doping was an integral part of the team.


"Except for a meeting we had shortly after I joined the team, I never had a conversation with him [Riis] about doping. He didn't encourage me to use doping. Implicitly, I was expected to take care of it myself," Rasmussen writes in his book.


"It was my impression that almost all riders used doping, that all of the staff was involved. While riding for CSC-Tiscali, I got systematic injections with cortisone. They were given by the team doctors. Cortisone delays fatigue; it makes you ride faster and is regarded as doping.


"You just needed a certificate with a permission. To get a certificate, you needed a medical reason to use it. The medical reason was always knee pain after which the team doctors noted down in the so-called Health Book that all riders had received from the UCI that you had received an injection in the knee. In reality, the hormone was injected into the shoulder and so the certificates were given on a wrong basis. The team doctors were very generous with those injections. The first time I took cortisone was during the Spanish stage race Semana Catalana de Ciclismo in March 2002."


Rasmussen also details how his blood values were constantly monitored by the team doctors.


"The team doctors did blood tests from all riders to monitor our hematocrit values during the season. In that way, they observed which riders used EPO and which riders were in danger of getting caught. Of course, Bjarne also had access to those numbers. After all, it was his doctors.


"I discussed my use of EPO and growth hormone with the team doctors. They usually told me to stop using a doping product when it became detectable. But if you only used insulin or growth hormone, they didn't care. They were undetectable at the time. We discussed it as a matter of course and with details as if it had been mechanical aspects. That year I took more cortisone than at any other time in my career."


Rasmussen also accuses current Saxo-Tinkoff rider Nicki Sørensen.


"I started my preparation for Challenge Mallorca in February when I met my friend and CSC-Tiscali team colleague Nicki Sørensen. He was also in Mallorca to start his season. We lived in the same hotel. He told me rather desperately that he had been unable to find EPO or growth hormone anywhere. I calmed him down and told him that I knew a pharmacy in Llucmajor where we could buy it. We used a CSC car and drove to the pharmacy. I had been there a couple of times and the pharmacist greeted me as if I was an old friend.


"We bought EPO an growth hormones and Nicki travelled home with the products via the airport in Pisa. I was travelling via Verona. In Verona, there was a heavy control in the airport with dogs, scanning of luggage etc. and at the time the Italian authorities were really targeting doping smugglers. On the other hand, the airport in Pisa was a crude, harmless place. It was easier to smuggle the products into Italy using that route."


Rasmussen details that he travelled to Sørensen's home with his wife.


"We received my products. But I learnt that Nicki had been so scared that he had buried his part in his garden. I was amused by that. At that time, I was probably a bit more cold-blooded than my younger colleague."


Furthermore, Rasmussen explains how compatriot Frank Høj smuggled cortisone into the Olympic village in Athens in 2004 by hiding the product in his MP3 player. And he claims to have been introduced to synachten by former Danish pro Rolf Sørensen at the 2001 Worlds in Lisbon. Sørensen admitted to doping use earlier this year.


Riis, Nicki and Rolf Sørensen have all refused to respond to the accusations, the former two referring to the on-going investigation. Høj denies the claims but refuses to make any further comments.



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