Kroon confesses to doping after Dutch newspaper exposure

'I was a professional cyclist in a very difficult time' says Dutchman

Former rider Karsten Kroon has confessed to doping during his career after it emerged he first planned to confess last spring via Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, only to change his mind and stay silent.

Early on Tuesday morning, Thijs Zonneveld, the ghost writer of Thomas Dekker's autobiography, revealed details of several conversations and emails with Kroon over the last 12 months as he considered working on a new video project with Algemeen Dagblad.

The discussion included plans to make a doping confession. However, when Kroon opted not to work on the project, he subsequently decided not to disclose his past, continuing to work with Eurosport as an expert commentator.

Kroon eventually confessed after Algemeen Dagblad and Zonneveld revealed the full back story.

"Today, 24 april, the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD) published an article revealing my use of doping during a short period in my professional career," Kroon stated. "This is true, I have used doping during a short period in my career. I regret this step and assume full responsibility."

Kroon was a professional between 1998 and 2014, riding for Rabobank, CSC, BMC, Saxo Bank and Tinkoff. He won a stage in the 2002 Tour de France and was second in the 2009 Amstel Gold Race. A 10-year statue of limitations means Kroon could still be investigated and possibly banned for doping.

"It is my wish to avoid the impression that I make a confession to my own advantage. I told AD reporter Thijs Zonneveld that I have no intention to write a book together with him in order to make money. Nor am I interested in having an interview with him and work for AD.

"The fact that Zonneveld publishes this story at this for him convenient moment, days before the start of the Giro that I will be commentating for Eurosport, is fine with me. It feels like a relief. I was a pro at a particularly difficult time, and I have the greatest respect for those of my colleagues who resisted the temptation of using doping.

"Fortunately, the sport has changed for the better enormously. I became a pro right after the Festina affair. I have seen the EPO test arrive, the whereabouts system and the blood passport. I witnessed the evolution of the sport I dearly love and I am convinced it is purer than it ever was. The last thing I want is to burden the present generation of cyclists with my past. It is my wish to leave it at that for the moment, but, should the need arise, I will be prepared to provide full details after the current season."

Zonneveld titled his story 'A Special confession', acknowledging the difficulties he and Algemeen Dagblad had faced after Kroon confessed to doping to them in private but then refused to make a public confession.

"Is he and his past relevant? Does his use of doping have to be in the newspaper? I think so," Zonneveld wrote.

"As a journalist, I am responsible for writing down what I see, what I hear and what I know. The starting point is always the same: I don't protect anyone, I don't sweep anything under the carpet. I try to work as transparently and independently as possible. That is why I write about the background and the journalistic considerations of whether or not to publish.

"I don't know what Kroon will do now that his doping use comes out. That's up to him. But I do know that I cannot and should not be silent."

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