Dutch rider encourages former teammates to come forward
Thomas Dekker has announced that he will collaborate with the Dutch Anti-Doping Agency by providing it with precise information on his doping past and on the people who facilitated it.
Dekker, who currently rides for Garmin-Sharp, was suspended for two years in 2009 after a retrospective test on a sample from the previous December came up positive for EPO. At the time, Dekker claimed that the positive test was an isolated incident but in an interview with NRC Handelsblad last weekend, the Dutchman admitted that he had first used EPO in 2006 and that he had undergone three blood transfusions during his time at Rabobank.
''As member of Team Garmin-Sharp and their policy and values, as Dutch rider and member of the Dutch federation, as ex-doper who served a 2 years suspension and as supporter of clean cycling: I announce that I will testify and fully cooperate with the Dutch Anti-Doping Authority to help further clean the world of cycling. Therefore I choose to give the full extent of my knowledge, names, dates and details,” Dekker said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Dekker said at the weekend that doping had been a “way of life” at Rabobank, with whom he raced from 2005 to 2008. He had previously ridden for Rabobank’s under-23 and junior teams.
The Dutch bank withdrew from sponsorship at the end of the 2012 season due to the repeated revelations of the team’s doping past. In May of last year, former manager Theo De Rooy admitted that doping was tolerated on the team until the aftermath of the Michael Rasmussen affair in 2007, while at the weekend, NRC Handelsblad reported that the team had first initiated an organised doping programme during the 1996 Tour de France.
“There are many details and people involved with my doping past. All of that, including the names of people who helped me will be given to the Anti-Doping Authority,” Dekker said on Wednesday.
“I will begin this process and hope that it will make it easier for ex-colleagues and ex-teammates to come forward and help the sport.''
A number of Dekker’s former Rabobank teammates, including Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker and Marc Wauters, have been accused of doping during their time at the team, although they have denied the allegations.
Garmin manager Jonathan Vaughters had said in April 2011 that Dekker would be required to collaborate with the World Anti-Doping Agency as a pre-requisite to signing with his team, saying, "I asked him to contact WADA and offer his total cooperation with any questions they have on that. That was a condition to even be considered [as a signing.]"
Dekker's agent confirmed to Cyclingnews on Wednesday that he had previously met with WADA on 10 January, 2012.