Danish Olympic Riders Were Doping, Says Rasmussen

Three of the riders on the Danish Olympic team were doping when they competed at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, former professional bicycle rider Michael Rasmussen has told anti-doping authorities.

In late January, the Dane who was kicked out of the 2007 Tour de France when he was wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey admitted to doping for 12 years and revealed he has been cooperating with authorities, including the US Anti-Doping Agency, about his drug links and cheating past. The 38-year-old revealed he used EPO, cortisone, insulin, human growth hormone, and blood transfusions from 1998-2010 when he was riding for various teams such as CSC-Tiscali and Rabobank.

According to Politiken newspaper, the former cycle star while being questioned by representatives of the international doping agency, WADA, as well as authorities in the Netherlands, Denmark, and the US explained how doping was part of the preparations of the Danish cycling team for the Olympic Games just over eight years ago. It was remarked that one of the five members of the Danish road cycling team – Frank Høj, Bo Hamburger, Nicki Sørensen, Lars Michaelsen, and Michael Rasmussen – allegedly smuggled the drugs into the Olympic camp. One of the Danes was successful in breaching the otherwise top-notch security at Olympic Games to smuggle a syringe through the control by concealing it in the battery compartment of a media device. The five cyclists shared an apartment in the Olympic Village and spent a lot of time together before the race and discussed the possibility of doping and three of the five riders injected a cortisone product.

The head of the Danish cycling authority and the team leader for the Danish team during Athens 2004, Jesper Worre, was shocked to hear the news and remarked we need to get to the bottom of this because it’s absolutely insane if that actually happened. Worre added we will try to get an overview before commenting and were not present during Rasmussen’s questioning and don’t have insight into the case. He further added that he knew nothing of such occurrences.

The information must be verified before action is taken, Jens Evald, a law professor at Aarhus University and former head of Anti-Doping Danmark, contended. Evald added that everyone that was present at the questioning is part of a confidentiality pact and just because Rasmussen says it is does not mean that it is a truthful statement and said one has to be careful not to conclude anything until the information has been verified.

        Meanwhile, Hamburger and Michaelsen both denied to Ekstra Bladet tabloid that they were doping during the 2004 Olympics. Sørensen, who is still active as a rider for Team Saxo-Tinkoff, also denied doping and said he thinks the accusations about the Olympics in the media are very unpleasant and he just wants to say that they are unfounded. Sørensen added he is willing to speak with Anti-Doping Danmark and DCU about the story.

The head of the Danish athletics association, Danmarks Idræts-Forbund, Niels Nygaard said that it would be very sad if the news was indeed true and remarked it is always sad when Danish athletes are doping, but it is even more of a shame if the Danish cyclist were doping during the Olympic Games.

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