Cycling - Rasmussen to return one month early

Alex Rasmussen's suspension has been shortened by one month and the Dane will be free to return to the saddle on March 1.

The former Garmin-Sharp rider is most of the way through an 18-month ban handed out to him by the UC for three whereabouts violations.

“I have a document saying that I can race again as of the first of March, and it is extremely important that I get started as soon as possible,” Rasmussen told Danish website Politiken. “It is in March that the northern European cycling season really starts, so it is important to be ready there.”

Rasmussen hopes to re-sign with Garmin-Sharp, who offloaded him when he received the ban, and get his season under way at the Three Days of West Flanders.

“I will work hard towards that,” he said. “I will certainly be missing some of the rhythm required to succeed, but in a short race like the West Flanders, I think I have very good chances. It would mean a lot to me to prove immediately that I'm back at full strength.”

He added: "I have regular contact with the boss Jonathan Vaughters, and although I have not been promised to come back (to the team), I feel that there is a realistic possibility.

"Vaughters has said that he has a vacancy and that it will not be filled by someone else. On the other hand, he has not given me a clear message that it is mine.”