By Katharina Schulz
Former Danish national champion and Tour de France stage winner Bo Hamburger admitted that he took EPO from 1995-1997 in his book Den højeste pris, which was released on Wednesday in Denmark. Hamburger was one of the first riders to have tested positive for EPO in 2001, and he still firmly claims that he was not doping at that time. However, his former team doubts his claims and says it has clear evidence that he was still using it in 2001.
Hamburger had joined Team CSC/World Online/Tiscali for the 2001 season, but had had a disappointing spring. Then, in April, he tested positive for EPO and was consequently fired by the team. However, after irregularities in the testing process where, after a positive 'A' sample, two 'B' samples gave conflicting results - one of which was positive, while the other was negative. The charges were dropped because of the irregularities.
The former CSC Scandinavia CEO Asger Jensby told the Danish newspaper B.T. that he was sure that Hamburger is not telling the whole truth. "I am still convinced that he [Hamburger] was doped even in 2001," claimed Jensby. "The results I saw and which I conferred to doping expert Bengt Saltin about showed clear indications of EPO usage. There's just no doubt about that."
To Jensby, it was obvious why Hamburger firmly claims he was clean. "In 2001 and 2002 he was conducting quite a formal and public case in order to be acquitted. If he now admitted to having taken EPO back then, he would make a mock of the public and law systems. So I can understand very well that he sticks to his story."
B.T. also reported that Hamburger commented on his relationship with Bjarne Riis in the book. Riis was his boss at the time of his EPO case, and it was Riis who suspended him after the positive test. "At that time I was really angry with Bjarne and I told him that I didn't think it was very dignified. But he was stone-cold. Completely indifferent," Hamburger is quoted as saying in the book.
"I am very disappointed with how Bjarne handled things. When he became my boss, we went from being really good friends to having a strictly professional relationship."