The Danish professional cyclist Michael Rasmussen has come clean about taking performance enhancing drugs for 13 years of his professional cycling career, and has announced that he is leaving the sport permanently as of today.
“The reason is that I have chosen to enter into cooperation with the relevant anti-doping authorities to help solve the most serious crisis for the sport ever,” Rasmussen told a news conference today.
“I have used enhancing drugs and methods between 1998 and 2010,” he added, saying he had used epo, growth hormones, testosterone, DHEA, insulin, IGF-1, cortisone and blood transfusions.
He said that he was not prepared to disclose publicly how and specifically which enhancers he had used when, but that the information had been given to anti-doping authorities.
“I realise that I have cheated, lied and deceived people and other athletes. I am prepared to make good and take my punishment,” the 38-year-old said.
“When I get up and leave this room it will be as a relieved man,” Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen reached the pinnacle of his cycling career in the 2007 Tour de France when he was well ahead on points with only four stages left. His team Rabobank withdrew him from the race, however, after he lied about where he had been prior to the race.
In a news conference following Rasmussen’s, the Danish anti-doping authority said some of the information it had received from Rasmussen was surprising. Although the extent of his information has not been made public, he is believed to have furnished the authority with names.
“We are not blue-eyed, but we were surprised at some of the information we received,” said Anti-Doping Denmark member Morten Mølholm. Mølholm is also head of development at the Sports Confederation of Denmark.
Rasmussen was questioned by the anti-doping authority until yesterday, following his approach to the authority two weeks ago.
“We are convinced that we should not just let what has previously gone on go by the board. With the important information that we have received from Michael Rasmussen, we will be able to be more effective in countering future enhancing. And we have been given an insight into a dirty world where it is not just sportsmen who are involved,” Mølholm says.
Although Rasmussen has said he will be giving up his career immediately, he will be quarantined. Anti Doping Denmark has been given such worthwhile information that it will be suggesting a reduction in the normal eight years quarantine to two years.
“He did not follow the Lance Armstrong model but chose to provide information that gives us new insights into the secrets of professional cycling,” said Anti-Doping Denmark’s Director Lone Hansen.
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Edited by Julian Isherwood