LottoNL-Jumbo fire Lobato after sleep medication fiasco

Updated: Eenkhoorn and Tolhoek suspended for two months by Dutch team

LottoNL-Jumbo have dismissed Juan José Lobato after the Spaniard was found to have taken sleeping medication outside of the team's supervision at a training camp.

The team confirmed the Spaniard's dismissal and a two-month internal suspension for Tolhoek and Eenkhoorn on Monday.

Lobato was found asleep by the team management and could not be immediately awoken. He was later taken to hospital along with Antwan Tolhoek and Pascal Eenkhoorn, who also took Noctamid and Stilnox. Both Eenkhoorn and Lobato spent the night at hospital. All three riders were sent home from the training camp in Girona, Spain.

Eenkhoorn and Tolhoek also were called to the team management's offices on Monday for a disciplinary talk, but Lobato's fate had already appeared to have be sealed.

"We're trying to find a solution with him and his management so it's not 100 per cent. It depends on the conditions that we discuss. The intention is that he leaves the team. There's very little chance that he stays," a team spokesperson told Cyclingnews.

"Eenkhoorn and Tolhoek are invited to our offices tomorrow, where we will decide their future. They have to explain some things and they might stay, they might not. We'll communicate the situation tomorrow."

After the meeting, the team announced its decision on Twitter:

The team claimed that alcohol was not involved – contrary to reports in some media outlets – but the fact that three riders took medication without the team's supervision has understandably lead to serious questions.

"The team takes responsibility for the health of the riders, and experiments that endanger their health are not accepted," the team stated in a press release. "In the context of the talent development policy that Team LottoNL-Jumbo advocates, the team has reached out to Tolhoek and Eenkhoorn to provide them a continuing opportunity to develop into an exemplary professional cyclist.

"In the case of Juan José Lobato, it was decided to end the sporting cooperation in the interest of both the rider and the team. Lobato has had an emotionally eventful year and will have to concentrate on his recovery."

Lobato, 28, competed in Lotto colours for the first time in 2017 having moved across from Movistar. He had one more year left on his current contract. According to the Dutch media it was Lobato who distributed both substances.

Tolhoek is 23 and also signed for the team at the start of 2017. Eenkhoorn, 20, has enjoyed a promising career in the youth ranks and is set to turn professional with the team in 2018.

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