Thomas Dekker has given conflicting statements as to his two-year doping suspension, announced yesterday by the Monegasque Cycling Federation. While he lawyer issued a statement in which the rider said he accepted the ban, the young Dutchman has told the Dutch press something else.
“Why do I get two years, while Ricco was suspended for four months less?" Thomas Dekker asked de Telegraaf. “Ricco tested positive during the Tour on the latest EPO variant Cera. I tested positive for EPO at an out-of-competition control in winter, but never used dope during a race. It was only eighteen months later I was found positive in rechecking.
“I really don’t understand what the basis for the maximum punishment is. I also don’t know what steps I may have to take. This is another heavy blow. Honestly I had not counted on it."
The suspension, which runs until July 1, 2011, deals with a retrospective test carried out in a doping control in December 2007. When the positive was first announced last summer, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said that it had the control re-tested because of suspicious blood values uncovered by the biological passport programme.
Dekker indicated that he might ask the UCI to review the suspension. Both the rider and the UCI have the right to appeal the suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), although there is no indication as to whether either will do so.
According to de Telegraaf, Dekker has been training lately, perhaps with the hopes of riding again this year. While that doesn’t seem possible, the 25-year-old was in fighting spirits.
“They won't get me down. I will definitely return and clear my name.”
His lawyer, Hans van Oijen, issued a much milder statement in Dekker's name, saying, “I have read the decision and accept it. I will work hard to return to the peloton.”