(AFP) Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen has told anti-doping authorities Saxo-Tinkoff manager Bjarne Riis knew about widespread doping in his team, but the manager is unlikely to face disciplinary action, a newspaper wrote Thursday.

Rasmussen had told anti-doping authorities that Riis had “full knowledge of the widespread use of doping substances in his cycling team”, citing “several sources with knowledge of the matter,” daily Politiken reported.

Rasmussen himself declined to confirm the report, which surfaced Wednesday.

It came as the Saxo-Tinkoff team owner left the Tour de France on Wednesday, denying his exit was linked to a Danish probe into the use of doping by cyclists.

“It’s all according to plan that Riis now concentrates on some business meetings, and he will return to the tour later,” team spokesman Anders Damgaard told tabloid Ekstra Bladet, without giving a date.

On Thursday, Politiken wrote on its website that it was unlikely Riis would ever face disciplinary action, even though US cyclist Tyler Hamilton and Germany’s Joerg Jaksche have both told Anti Doping Denmark he knew about the practice.

“The contents of the testimonies are very interesting, but they are all eight years or more back in time, and the statute of limitations is just eight years,” Jens Evald, a law professor at Aarhus University, told the paper.

Riis won the 1996 Tour de France, but admitted in 2007 that he used EPO (erythropoietin) to secure victory, – despite that his win has not been officially erased from the race’s record books.