Michael Rasmussen admits to doping

Danish cyclist faces a two-year ban and a 250,000kr fine for taking performance-enhancing drugs over a 12-year period

Danish cyclist Michael 'The Chicken' Rasmussen admitted to doping from 1998 to 2010 at a press conference in Herning today accompanied by team managers Christina and Claus Hembo.

Rasmussen, who is the team leader of Christina Watches/Onfone, has faced long-term allegations of doping since his team withdrew him from the 2007 Tour de France after he was unable to answer questions about his location during preparations for the race, claiming that he was training in Mexico when spotted by a retired cyclist in Italy. Rasmussen had been on the brink of victory at the time, wearing yellow and just four stages away from Paris.

He is said to have used 100,000 units of EPO, cortisone and growth hormones in 2007, as well as carrying five bags of blood transfusions in case he faced random testing.

Rumours of Rasmussen’s involvement with doping first started to circulate after his former agent Stefan Matschiner admitted to running a doping ring that included over 50 athletes.

Thomas Dekkers, an earlier colleague of Rasmussen, also added fuel to those rumours after revealing details of widespread doping to the international cycling union, the UCI.

Denmark’s cycling watchdog, Anti-Doping Danmark and Denmark’s Sports Confederation will hold a press conference later today.

Rasmussen, who served a two-year ban following his withdrawal from the 2007 Tour de France, has not competed in the Tour de France since returning to competitive cycling. When he joined his current team in 2009, they announced they were hopeful of qualifying for the WorldTour, cycling's premier tier, in 2016, by which time Rasmussen will be 42.