T-Mobile Team Manager Bob Stapleton has harshly criticized the University Clinic in Freiburg, which withdrew its doctors from working with the team following disclosures that former team doctors Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich had been involved in doping with the team in the 1990s. Stapleton called the Clinic's actions "irresponsible" and said that he would take them to court.
"I find that to be a total overreaction," he told the sid press agency. "Our attorneys are already on the case." Three weeks ago the Clinic broke its ties with the team, leaving the team without medical help. "The doctors had a contractual and ethical duty to our riders and left them having without any warning."
After the Clinic withdrew its doctors from the team, T-Mobile riders rode half of the Giro, the Bayern Rundfahrt, the Volta a Catalunya and the women's Tour de l'Aude without their usual medical support. Michael Barry's case of pneumonia was a result of this, Stapleton said. He told Cyclingnews that he was also worried about the post-surgery care for Adam Hansen's injured hand.
"Who will look after his hand? It should be the doctors who did the surgery. If it is not properly handled, he could suffer from severe arthritis in the next few years - and he is only 26. It is irresponsible," said Stapleton.
The team will be working with two other doctors in its preparations for the Tour de France, and two more doctors will be added by the time the Tour starts. Stapleton noted that he had received offers from other clinics to take over the medical care for next year.
In a related matter, the team's Director of Sports, Rolf Aldag was questioned for five hours Monday by the Bundeskriminalamt (federal police) in Wiesbaden about the role of doctors Schmid and Heinrich in the doping scandal. He told the sid that he did not name any other riders who might have been involved.