ROUEN, France: American cycling team Garmin said they will have no option but to fire Alex Rasmussen after the Dane was handed a lengthy suspension for missing drugs tests.

Rasmussen, a four-time track cycling world champion, was on Wednesday handed an 18-month ban for missing two out-of-competition doping controls and failing to give sufficient details about his whereabouts for a third.

The punishment was announced in a statement by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Jonathan Vaughters, the CEO of Rasmussen’s professional road team Garmin, told AFP at the end of the Tour de France fourth stage: “He’s suspended but automatically upon a suspension the contract is nullified.”

However Vaughters, who complained of the complicated process which led to the ban, indicated he would not rule out re- hiring the rider once he has made an assessment.

“The overall handling of the process has been very disappointing. There needs to be some improvements made in the process all around,” added Vaughters.

“As far as Alex missing three tests and being suspended, it’s something he has to learn from. But I need to look at the judgement and then make an assessment from there.”

Rasmussen won four world titles before turning to a professional road career and joining the Saxo Bank team.

He switched to HTC-Colombia in 2011 but was sacked by them after missing one of the tests.

Rasmussen joined the Garmin outfit for this season and competed in this year’s Tour of Italy.

After the Danish cycling federation acquitted the rider on the basis of what they perceived as a procedural mistake made by the UCI, the UCI appealed to CAS calling for a two-year ban for missing two tests and failing to give sufficient details about his whereabouts for a third control.

CAS upheld the UCI’s appeal, maintaining that its procedural error relating to a delay in communication had no bearing on the fact that the 28-year-old rider had missed a control.

Vaughters added:

“He’s a good kid, he’s very disorganised, but he’s a good kid.” – Sapa-AFP