Rasmussen admits to doping

Cycling has been rocked by another confession of systematic doping by a leading rider after Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen confessed.

The 38-year-old told a news conference in Denmark he had taken numerous drugs including EPO, human growth hormone, testosterone, insulin and blood transfusions over a 12-year period.

Rasmussen is a former 'king of the mountains' in the Tour de France, and was banned for two years in 2007 for telling lies about his whereabouts to drugs testers.

The revelation comes just a fortnight after Lance Armstrong made a full confession to doping during all seven of his Tour de France victories.

Rasmussen, the former Rabobank rider nicknamed 'The Chicken', has now made a full confession and has pledged to work with the anti-doping authorities.

In a statement to the news conference in Herning, he said: "I am well aware that I have cheated, lied and deceived people and other athletes.

"I am now ready to make good, and I'm ready to take my punishment.

"I have used doping substances and methods during the period 1998-2010, including EPO, growth hormone, testosterone, DHEA, insulin, IGF-1, cortisone and blood transfusions.

"The specifics of exactly what I did and when have been given to the anti-doping authorities.

"My cooperation with them based on confidentiality, which means that I can not disclose further details at this time. That time may come later."

Rasmussen's ban may be reduced to two years for a full admission, including names of other drugs cheats, officials involved and suppliers.

Claus Hembo, director of Rasmussen's current team Christina Watches-Onfon said he is convinced he has been clean since he joined the team in 2011, and that once his ban is served there will be a place for him as the team's sports director.

Rasmussen's confession was welcomed by Peder Pedersen, the Danish member of the UCI board.

Pedersen told Danish newspaper Fyens Stiftstidende: "I can only applaud the fact that he has done this. It has been uphill with Michael for many years, but it is important this has happened and that he helps the sport in the way that he can.

"This could be a breakthrough but there is a long way to go."