Former world champion Bart Wellens (Telenet - Fidea) takes his first major victory of the season.
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Belgian 'cross rider under suspicion of doping
Belgian police searched the house of cyclo-cross rider Bart Wellens on Wednesday, as part of a doping investigation. The investigation centers on Luc Van den Broeck, who produces the dietary supplement CONCAP, and the houses of two other riders, including Wellens' brother Geert.
Wellens recently missed the Belgian national championships when he was hospitalized with heart and kidney problems. He, his wife and his doctor denied that doping was involved.
That was not the beginning of the suspicions, though. Police first received information that he may have doped after his “miraculous victory” in Essen on December 17, according to Het Nieuwsblad.
Van den Broeck is the key figure in the investigation. On January 13, the investigation was ordered, with the prosecutor yesterday confirming that to the Belgian newspaper. “Is he really a supplier of doping products? And who are his customers? That is what we are looking into,” said Inge Delissen of the Belgian court in Turnhout. “In other words, did Van den Broeck supply Bar Wellens or not? At present that is not certain.”
The police on Wednesday searched the houses of Van den Broeck, Bart Wellens, his brother Geert, and Kevin Cant (Belgian 'cross champion for elite without contract), as well as the CONCAP headquarters.
Five detectives searched Wellens' house for nearly two hours, and took a computer with them when they left.
In addition, Wellens's medical records from the hospital were taken into custody for further investigation.
“Everything needs to be checked,” Delissen said. “We want to know if something is wrong.”
Delissen emphasized that no conclusion had yet been drawn. “The investigation should show whether the information is correct. For the rider it is important that we find out the truth. The investigation may take months.”
Van den Broeck and Wellens were previously investigated on doping charges, starting in 2006. Wellens was dropped from the investigation in 2009, and Van den Broeck was cleared of charges he supplied Chinese EPO in April of that year.