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d'Hont "simply defending himself"

By:
Susan Westemeyer
Published:
November 12, 2007, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 22:50 BST
Edition:
Latest Cycling News for November 12, 2007

By Susan Westemeyer When Jan Ullrich won a court order prohibiting former soigneur Jef d'Hont from...

By Susan Westemeyer

When Jan Ullrich won a court order prohibiting former soigneur Jef d'Hont from speaking publicly about performance enhancing drugs he allegedly gave the cyclist, d'Hont's lawyer said that his client would explore all legal avenues in fighting the decision. The Belgian has now announced that he will write a book about Ullrich and has turned over tapes of conversations with the cyclist's mentor, Rudy Pevenage, to both the media and German investigators.

In an interview with Focus magazine, which published the transcripts, d'Hont said that the reason he did it was simple: "I am only doing it because Jan Ullrich is forcing me to defend myself any way I can."

He repeated his claim that the 1997 Tour de France winner used EPO. "On Rudy's recommendation and after discussing it with the doctors, me, and the then team boss Walter Godefroot, Ullrich started with EPO."

d'Hont also continued to claim that he injected Ullrich with EPO, and that he can prove it. "There are witnesses and evidence. Right now I am gathering material and statements, in case Ullrich wants to pursue his case against me. My lawyers think I have a strong case. It is unbelievable, how Ullrich is reacting. Why doesn't he confess like all the other Telekom riders?

"Rudy organized everything for him," d'Hont continued. "Ullrich is not at all the type who could do something like that alone. Pevenage did all the research. He even looked up the effects of growth hormones and other banned products in reference books. He understood the proper mixtures of products and knew exactly how long a doping substance was detectable and when not."

Most of the EPO injections were given by team doctors Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid, he said. "But when they weren't there, others did it. Vitamins were injected, but also EPO and growth hormone."

Godefroot was also involved in the payment for the banned substances, d'Hont claimed. "I was instructed by Godefroot to gather the money from the riders and give it to him. Apparently he paid the official bills from Freiburg [the Freiburg University Clinic] from the team's funds. Products like EPO, growth hormone or banned products were probably declared as normal medications. Godefroot then paid out the money to Schmid and all the other doctors. There seem to have been two sets of books."

D'Hont concluded by noting that Godefroot had said in June that he would file a lawsuit against him, that had not yet happened. "He is probably afraid that then much more could come out about him."

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