Rasmussen out of Tour of Britain after being sacked by HTC for missed test

Alex Rasmussen, Tour of Britain 2011

Team HTC-Highroad fired Dane Alex Rasmussen on Thursday morning for missing a recent anti-doping control.

"Mr Rasmussen missed a test and additionally did not inform the team," said HTC's Team Manager Rolf Aldag in a press release. "These are clear violations of the team's code of conduct."

It was the third missed control in 18 months, which is considered the same as a failed doping test and carries a suspension of up to two years. HTC said in the press release that it was notified today of the two previous missed controls from last year. Last year and in 2009, Rasmussen rode for Bjarne Riis's Danish team, Saxo Bank.

"Alex Rasmussen is suspended," said the national federation in a press release, "and the Danish sports doping tribunal will prosecute him."

The national team had selected him to race the World Championships next Sunday in Copenhagen. Rasmussen was to help last year's silver medallist, Matti Breschel, but will now remain home.

Rasmussen is currently in Britain as part of HTC-Highroad's Tour of Britain team alongside Mark Cavendish, but will now have to withdraw from the race. Cavendish won two sprints at the Giro d'Italia in May with the help of Rasmussen.

Rasmussen was second in the final individual time trial in this year's Giro d'Italia behind winner David Millar. In June, Rasmussen won the Philadelphia International Championship.

However, he is probably best known as a track rider, and has won world titles in the scratch race, Madison and team pursuit and appeared in a round of last year's Revolution track series in Manchester.

At the 2008 Olympics, he was part of the Danish team that placed second to Great Britain in the team pursuit.

Garmin-Cervélo signed him last month to join the team next year, but it will annul the contract.

"Our policy is stringent," the team told Cycling Weekly. "In light of this situation, Alex Rasmussen will not be joining our team."

Another unrelated Dane, Michael Rasmussen left the 2007 Tour de France after missed doping controls were revealed. He had led the race for two days and was still in the overall lead. He eventually served a two-year ban.

Last week, French cycling asked for a disciplinary hearing of cycling legend Jeannie Longo. She missed three controls, one in the USA in June and two others in France.

Rasmussen's doping case is the first such case for HTC-Highroad since Bob Stapleton took over the management of team T-Mobile in late 2007. HTC will disband at the end of the season because Stapleton was unable to find a replacement sponsor for HTC.

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