d'Hont says he gave Ullrich EPO

By Susan Westemeyer Jef d'Hont, former Team Telekom soigneur, said that he gave Jan Ullrich an...

By Susan Westemeyer

Jef d'Hont, former Team Telekom soigneur, said that he gave Jan Ullrich an injection of EPO. "I injected him with it one time in France," the Belgian said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag.

"I never injected EPO in Germany, not Jan Ullrich and not any other rider. The doctors were responsible for that," he said. "I wasn't Ullrich's regular soigneur. In France I injected him with it one time. I shot it into his arm. That took about 10 seconds. It was like giving insulin to a diabetic patient."

d'Hont praised the German rider. "If they had all been clean, then Ullrich would have won the Tour 10 times. At least! I don't know if the wanted the doping or not. But he did it because everyone was doing it." He urged Ullrich to confess. "It would be good for him to lay his cards on the table, too. Then he would feel freer."

Ullrich has consistently denied ever having used any doping products. His manager Wolfgang Strohband has made various statements the last few days about whether the German would join those making confessions. In Sunday's Bild he is quoted as saying, "Jan Ullrich will have something to say about this, when he and his attorney Johan Schwen think it is right to do so."

d'Hont contradicted Bjarne Riis' claim that he introduced the Dane to EPO. "That is not true. He had pumped himself full before his time at Telekom. He told me that himself." He contrasted Riis to Ullrich, saying, "He became famous, because he doped. Otherwise he was just an average rider."

Not all the Telekom riders used doping. "Maybe one or two riders" didn't. He also explicitly said that soigneur Dieter 'Eule' Ruthenberg "knew nothing about it. The others did."

"I still dream of clean cycling, The lies have to finally stop," d'Hont said, noting that he was surprised at the many confessions and how quickly they have come. "But it is good," he said. "It is my hope that teams in other lands will also open up. Doping is part of what they do, too, I know that."

The Belgian has personally benefited from the recent controversy. "I feel better now than I did a month ago. My book has been number one on the best sellers list in Belgium for weeks. But especially, my conscience is clear again."

He wanted to confess earlier, he said. "But my son was still a soigneur at Team Telekom I didn't want to endanger his position. Walter Godefroot, the former team manager knew that, too: as long as my son worked for him, I wouldn't say anything. That's why he hired him."

d'Hont explained some of the details of how the doping scheme worked. The EPO came in ampules, which he kept in the refrigerator of his RV, with the riders' names written on them. "Usually we started three weeks before a big race like the Tour de France, some riders only one week. Some only took seven or eight ampules a year, others took 20.

"One ampule cost 25 Euros. I gathered the money from the riders, then gave it to Walter Godefroot." Godefroot has denied being involved in any way.

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