Former American cyclist Andy Bishop has told Cyclingnews that he believes he was only clean rider in PDM’s 1988 Tour de France squad.
Bishop rode for the Dutch team from 1988 until the end of the 1989 season and in his 1988 neo-pro year he rode the Tour. Last month Volkskrant published extracts allegedly from the notebook used by former PDM soigneur Bertus Fok during the race, in which he detailed the substances administered to the riders. Volkskrant stated seven our of eight riders on the team doped but did not specify as to who may have been clean.
In Fok’s notes all eight Tour riders were listed, along with several substances and forms of doping next to their names. In one page of notes, Bishop’s name is listed next to the word ‘kokers’ and testosterone. However, according to Bishop he was often asked to take pills during races but always turned down Fok, who he labelled as a ‘witchdoctor’.
“I’m assuming that I was the one hold out guy. It was the first year and I always referred to that soigneur as witchdoctor because it was old school methods of taking care of riders. They didn’t really have medical training,” Bishop told Cyclingnews from his home in Vermont.
“He would have this case full of pills, all different shapes, rectangles, squares, different colors and really I just didn’t see the point in any of that. I know first hand that they all doped but I didn’t know they were doing that [blood doping]. As far any doping goes I was a zero. I’ve always been adamant against doping of any sorts.”
Asked as to why his name could be listed next to pills and testosterone, Bishop added: “I’m not sure, honestly, I think that’s in the kokers but believe me I did not take anything external and I never took them. When I saw the article in Volksrant at first I was like, 'What the f*** is this?', but then you look at the following documents, where I’m not listed.”
“At the time I’d ask what is this and why do I have to take this? I didn’t want to dope but some of my teammates gave themselves injections before races but it didn't make any sense to me to take a pill of vitamins with 20km to go.”
After finishing the 1988 Tour de France in 135th place, Bishop looked ahead to his second year with the team. However it was then that the team began to lean on him even further to take doping products.
“In my first year they did not force or suggest any doping on me. It wasn’t until 1989 that there was a very strong suggestion that I take testosterone. I didn’t, and then I didn’t go to any more big races,” he said.
“I came so close to taking testosterone at one point because my levels were so low at one point and they would say it would just bring me up to the normal levels of someone on the street. You could see how the rationality and the slippery slope of doping happens.”
PDM’s best finisher in the 1988 Tour was Steven Rooks, who came second overall behind Pedro Delgado, won on l’Alpe d’Huez and claimed the king of the mountains title. Rooks confessed to doping throughout his career in 2009.