Knaven, who rode for TVM, QuickStep, T-Mobile/High Road and Milram during his career has always maintained that he never took performance enhancing drugs as a professional rider, however the recent accusations centre around court documents from the TVM trial in 2001, which allege that Knaven had doped.
Knaven was a member of the Dutch team in 1998, the year in which a team car was found to have contained 104 vials of erythropoietin (EPO) on its way back from the Tour of Murcia in Spain. In the same year the Festina scandal broke at the Tour de France and Knaven, along with his TVM teammates, left the race under a cloud of suspicion.
The Mail on Sunday claims to have had access to the court documents from 2001, in which the French court accepted that a number of riders had doped. Three members of the team’s management, who were on trial, were found guilty of organizing a systematic doping programame.
Team Sky, who re-stated their zero tolerance stance at the end of 2012 issued a statement on their website in which they state the documents from the case were handed to an independent set of experts, and that Knaven has no case to answer for.
“We have taken these allegations very seriously. In the limited time we have had we have done everything possible to investigate them. We have interviewed Servais at length. More importantly we handed over the information presented to us to three independent world class anti-doping experts for their analysis and expert opinion,” read the statement from the team.
The team would not confirm who the experts were or if they had talked to Knaven personally but they team added that they would hand over the experts’ opinions to a recognised anti-doping body, should they be requested.
“Their view on the basis of what has been presented to us is that there is no proof of doping and Servais continues to maintain his innocence. We would be happy to share these findings with any other anti-doping agency.
It is important to remember that no charges were ever brought against Servais. This goes back over 15 years and has been looked at several times during that period.”
Team Sky’s zero tolerance stance saw a number of staff leave in 2012, including Knaven’s ex-TVM teammate Steven de Jongh, who admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs during his racing career.