Thomas Dekker has been suspended for two years for using EPO, the Monegasque Cycling Federation announced today. The suspension runs until July 1, 2011.
The 24-year-old from the Netherlands was tested for EPO in an out-of-competition doping control on Christmas Eve 2007 but that test was negative. According to the International Cycling Union (UCI), data gathered under the biological passport programme in 2008 and 2009 “demonstrates convincing evidence of the use of the prohibited method of oxygen transfer.”
These results prompted the UCI to review Dekker's past doping controls, including the one taken in December 2007. The WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne, Germany, re-examined the urine sample and found it to contain EPO.
Dekker was suspended by Team Silence-Lotto on July 1, 2009. He had joined the Belgian team that season after leaving Rabobank the previous August under unexplained circumstances.
The Dutch rider, who lived in Monaco and rode under a Monegasque licence, has said that he used EPO only the one time, acknowledged his “mistake” and accepted full responsibility. Dekker has indicated he plans to return to riding after this suspension ends in 2011.