Project 1t4i has leapt to the defence of its star sprinter Marcel Kittel. Last night the 23-year-old was linked to a doping investigation by the German television show Sportschau, and team manager Iwan Spekenbrink confirmed to Cyclingnews that the rider had visited Andreas Franke, the doctor at the centre of the investigation.
Today the team also stated that two other riders, Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb, also had contact with this doctor in the past but that they have not been contacted by the German Public Prosecutor, WADA or NADA investigating Dr. Franke.
“The following facts are known to the team. As an 18-year-old sportsman from the region of Erfort and therefore part of this Olympic point of support, Marcel Kittel should contact the doctor concerned in case of illness. In 2007 and 2008, Marcel visited this doctor when he was ill. The doctor decided to treat him with the UV-treatment mentioned in the program of Sportschau,” the team said in a press release.
“Project 1t4i cyclists John Degenkolb and Patrick Gretsch were also part of this point of support and visited this doctor in case of illness. Patrick Gretsch also received the UV-treatment from Dr. Franke. John Degenkolb has never received this treatment. Marcel Kittel, Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb have never had to pay any financial compensation to this point of support or the aforementioned doctor.”
The team also made clear that Kittel and Gretsch had only received treatment from the squad’s own medical staff since joining the team and that their visits and treatments from Dr. Franke did not break any anti-doping laws.
“In January 2011, the world anti-doping agency WADA changed the anti-doping codex and all treatments with blood were prohibited. The facts concerning Marcel Kittel and Patrick Gretsch have all occurred before January 2011.”
“Dr. Franke applied the following method for the mentioned syndrome. He took a very small amount (a few cc) of blood from the body via a syringe and put this under UV lighting immediately to fight the infection in the blood. This blood was subsequently reinserted into the body. The entire treatment did not take more than a few minutes. It did not involve an infusion or transfusion.”
The team reiterated that none of their riders are currently suspects in the enquiry but that the management and riders would fully co-operate with any investigation.