Rasmussen resurfaces with new cycling team

Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen was welcomed aboard Wednesday as the new captain of the Christina Watches team.

Disgraced former Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen of Denmark was named captain of a new cycling team owned by a Danish watch designer.

Christina Hembo said on Wednesday her company bought 100 per cent of a UCI-registered professional continental team and the new outfit will be known as Christina Watches.

The second-tier UCI professional continental teams can compete in events like the Tour, the Giro d'Italia, and the Spanish Vuelta — but need to be invited by race organizers.

It was unclear who would be on the Christina Watches team besides Rasmussen, or what races they would participate in.

Hembo and Rasmussen planned to hold a media conference Thursday in Herning, Denmark, where the watchmaker is based.

"In the coming weeks and months, the team will be further strengthened," Hembo said in a statement.

Rasmussen led cycling's showcase race in 2007 until he was kicked off his Dutch Rabobank team for lying about his training whereabouts when he missed pre-race doping tests.

He was banned for two years but has maintained he raced clean and never tested positive.

For months, Rasmussen had been linked to Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis's team with Alberto Contador.

However, last month Riis presented his complete roster without Rasmussen, whose main appearance in Denmark in recent months has been in a televised dancing contest.

Rasmussen said he was "shocked" that Riis didn't pick him.

The 36-year-old Dane returned to the sport in 2009, and since July he has been racing with personal sponsorship from Hembo's company Christina Design London.