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Tour of Poland winner Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge)
Dutchman and Niermann downplay 2007 doping allegations
Pieter Weening has reacted to the claims of his former teammate Michael Rasmussen by stating that the Dane is probably frustrated.”He lost the court case against Rabobank which probably made him very frustrated,” the Orica-Greenedge rider told De Telegraaf.
In a live web chat after an interview with Danish broadcaster DR, Michael Rasmussen claimed that 100% of the 2007 Rabobank Tour de France team was on doping. “Within the Rabobank team: 100% [used doping products]. Not everyone took the same products, but all riders were on some form of doping provided by the team,” he said.
The Danish rider later backtracked on his previous statement saying that he never actually saw Juan Antonio Flecha or Oscar Freire use banned substances. Triple world champion Freire had threatened to sue Rasmussen for his allegations.
In Curaçao, where Weening participated in the Amstel Curaçao Race, the Dutch rider reacted to Rasmussen’s allegations. “Desperate needs lead to desperate deeds,” Weening said. “Rasmussen comes up with different stories every time. He declared something else when he was under oath at the court. It’s obvious he is frustrated because he lost the case against Rabobank.”
Rasmussen received €665,000 in damages when a court found that Rabobank wrongfully sent him home from the 2007 Tour de France while the Dane was in the yellow jersey. Both parties appealed the decision and when Rasmussen eventually lost, he had to re-pay the original sum.
Grischa Niermann, who was also part of the 2007 Rabobank Tour de France team has also reacted to Rasmussen's statement that 100% of the team was on doping. “I don’t know where he gets that from,” the now-retired German rider said on national television. “I can say for myself that I only received vitamins and supplements from the team doctor but no banned substances.”
Niermann was supended for six months at the beginning of this year after he confessed to having used doping in 2003. “Thanks to the people around me I realised in 2003 that banned substances was not the path I wanted to follow. That’s why I stopped and for the past 10 years, I tried to set an example for the young riders at Rabobank as being honest, hardworking and professional,” he said in a statement in January. After his ban ended, he returned to his coaching job at the Rabobank Development Team.
Orica-Greenedge have asked Weening to re-confirm the anti-doping statement he signed prior to joining the Australian team.