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Thomas Dekker to return in Sint-Niklaas

By:
Cycling News
Published:
June 23, 2011, 22:07 BST,
Updated:
June 23, 2011, 23:08 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 24, 2011

Dutch rider still without a team after doping suspension

Dutch rider Thomas Dekker will make his comeback to the sport at the 80th Grote Prijs Stad St. Niklaas, a Belgian kermis, on July 6 following his two-year doping suspension.

The 26-year-old made the announcement in Amsterdam today at the signing of his new book Schoon Genoeg (Clean Enough) and the screening of a documentary called Niemand kent mij (Nobody knows me), which will air on Nederlands 3 on Monday.

Formerly of the Belgian Silence-Lotto team, Dekker is currently serving a ban for EPO that expires on July 2. He was caught as part of a targeted testing of his prior samples after examinations of his blood passport with the UCI showed irregular values.

After initially denying doping, Dekker finally admitted to using EPO over the course of two years prior to his testing positive, but insists that he is capable of top results without doping. He aims to come back to the peloton and be like David Millar - a rider who has admitted to prior sins but has gone on to advocate for a clean sport.

"He is an example, he's popular and is widely accepted in the peloton," Dekker said of Millar according to Novum. "It will be nice to get back to racing. That's the most important thing - I need competition. I have no idea how other riders in the peloton will react to me when I return."

Dekker has been linked with Garmin-Cervélo or its developmental team, which sought to sign him until examinations of his blood passport came up abnormal. The Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters confirmed earlier this year that he was tracking Dekker's physiological testing, but Dekker said there is no agreement yet.

Dekker will be racing the kermis circuit under sporting goods sponsor Math Salden. He said he will announce his new team August 1.

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