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Rasmussen pushing for WorldTour return

Dane will ride with a Continental team in 2014, splitting time between road and track, and will target a return to the sport's top level

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MILAN (VN) — Alex Rasmussen wants to return to cycling’s first division, possibly even with former team Garmin-Sharp. The U.S.-based squad refused to renew the Dane’s contract for 2014, leaving him few options. He will race with a third-division team this year, but is eying a 2015 comeback.

“That’s my goal,” Rasmussen told VeloNews. “I’m just going to go straight from the track, take my shape with me and try to prove myself in a little lower division. I want to get some wins in and see if I can get back on a ProTeam. It’s definitely my goal to get back.”

Rasmussen helped Denmark place second in the team pursuit last month in second round of the UCI Track World Cup. He also placed third, with Michael Mørkøv, in the Rotterdam Six Days Tuesday.

Mixing track and road

Riwal, Rasmussen’s new Danish third-division team, will allow him to mix his track and road calendars freely. He said he will push for a gold medal at the track world championships in Cali, Colombia, along with road wins. Since 2005, Rasmussen has won two gold medals in the scratch race, one in the madison, and one in the team pursuit.

On the road, he helped HTC-Highroad and Garmin to team trial wins in the Giro d’Italia. He missed part of 2012 and 2013 due to anti-doping whereabouts violations.

He returned last summer. Even with little time to prove himself, he won a stage in the Bayern Rundfahrt race.

“I was happy I won that one race,” Rasmussen said. “It was more due to the end of the season. We wanted to do a lot for Dan Martin at the Vuelta a España and he crashed out.

“[Team manager Jonathan] Vaughters didn’t think we were looking after him enough. I think that was why he decided not to take me. Up until that point he was talking about re-signing.”

Whereabouts not an issue

Rasmussen said Garmin’s decision to drop him did not have to do with his missed anti-doping controls.

“No, no, because [Vaughters] wouldn’t have taken me back in the first place. He didn’t have to take me back after that. If that was the problem, he wouldn’t have even talked to me,” Rasmussen said. “He said, ‘if you prove yourself, then we’ll talk about coming back next year.’ I still have a chance to get back on Garmin and it’s one of my preferred teams if I come back.

“A lot of people take it personally, but someone has to leave the team. If you haven’t done a whole lot in one year, then it’s part of the game. You have to take your chances when you get them and then get back.”

After the world championships and the Copenhagen Six Days, Rasmussen will return to the road with Riwal.

“This is better than a year without a contract,” he added. “I spoke with Bjarne Riis [about joining Tinkoff-Saxo] but he couldn’t tell me a lot when the deal was going on with Oleg Tinkov. I decided to go for the safe contract and take a year down to hopefully get back next year.”

An American in France

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