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Rasmussen: ‘I was robbed of 2007 Tour’

Second chance with Christina Watches

Rasmussen says it’s hard to watch as other banned riders such as Ivan Basso and Alejandro Valverde are welcomed back to the sport while many within the sport have ostracized him.

After serving his ban, he’s only been able to find small, low-level teams who were interested in signing the controversial rider. An effort to return to Bjarne Riis in 2010 was eventually scuttled when Riis checked out how the reaction would be to Rasmussen’s return.

“I was speaking with Riis for three or four months. He wanted me, but he was sincere and said, ‘Michael, I have to get the approval from various people,’” he said. “Some of these people told him not to sign me.”

Rasmussen’s quandary caught the attention of Danish watch company, Christina Watches, which has signed him to a five-year deal starting last year to give him a second chance at racing.

So far, the continental team has not received invitations to race in the top-tier events, but Rasmussen remains optimistic the team can reach pro-continental status, perhaps as soon as next season, and open the door to more prestigious races.

“When they take nearly everything away from your life and then you get a second chance, you can dream again, it’s a special feeling,” he said. “My encounter with Christina Watches has changed my life, they gave a second opportunity. I can do what I love doing, which is cycling. And that’s why we’ve given a second chance to Stefan Schumacher (another controversial rider signed by the team this year – ed.)”