By Susan Westemeyer
T-Mobile team doctor Lothar Heinrich has denied claims by former Telekom soigneur Jef D'hondt that Bjarne Riis won the Tour de France on EPO, and that the drugs were supplied by "our doctors at the University of Freiburg. "
"These comments are inexplicable," Heinrich said in an interview with press agency dpa. "I can only confirm the statement from the University Clinic Freiburg that there is no basis for these claims." He also noted that the medical team found no irregularities in Riis' blood values in 1996, saying "everything was in the normal range".
Turning to the current T-Mobile team, Heinrich noted that blood volume tests have been carried out four times so far - on all riders at the team meeting in October and the training camp on Mallorca, as well as unannounced tests at the Mallorca Challenge and Omloop Het Volk. The riders were tested by Professor Schmid of Bayreuth, Germany. "As an independent expert, he decides who and when to check."
Heinrich also commented on reports that he, Dr. Andreas Schmid and Jan Ullrich may be called to speak before the German parliament. "So far I have heard of the invitation only through the media," he said. "But I would be glad to have a discussion with the Sports Committee. I welcome every action taken to fight doping."
Finally, the doctor denied that the extensive drug testing within the T-Mobile Team would lead to a lack of results this year. "I hope it doesn't work out that way," he said. "We have not seen any drops in performances. A good indication is the one-two win in the important one-day race Gent-Wevelgem."