By Steve Medcroft, MTB Editor
After running a story in last Friday's MTB News that doping-suspended mountain biker Erwin Bakker had been barred from competing in a non-sanctioned marathon in Switzerland (as a follow up to his being caught racing in his brother's name in Germany earlier this season), Bakker responded by email to complain that he is being misrepresented in the media.
Bakker says the characterization that he was 'caught' trying to enter races despite his ban is misleading. "Now it’s totally true that I used EPO last year and I got my deserved ban," he wrote, "What they publish now in the media is totally not true.
"Early this year I did ride some marathons with open registration (non-UCI events). After several comments from other riders, I decided to quit riding. The story that I entered with my brother's name is true but it’s also published in a very sensational way."
About the most recent news that organizers of the Grand Raid Cristalp marathon in Switzerland found Bakker's name on their registration rolls and struck him from the participants list before the event, Bakker says "(I signed up in) February this year. Two weeks ago there was a big commotion about a Swiss rider who refused an out of competition test. After that, there were (as expected) questions about my registration. The organization send me a mail that they decided I could not ride, and so I will not."
Instead of looking for new ways to compete in a hostile competitive environment, Bakker says he's trying to put elite-level mountain-biking racing behind him. "I’m working full-time in my brother's bike store and don’t even have time to ride," he wrote. "I'm focusing on a new target and that is not riding competition.