Argos-Shimano manager calls for longer doping suspension

Iwan Spekenbrink says that dopers have no place in the professional peloton. If it was up to the general manager of the Argos-Shimano team, those convicted of doping would be automatically given a lifetime worldwide ban. And Spekenbrink believes many of those involved in Dutch cycling agree with him.

His team does not hire riders who have been banned for doping, he told  "We don't want to see those people back in a team in the sport. Not in our team and not in other teams.”

Spekenbrink's team is currently fighting to get a WorldTour licence and is said to be neck-and-neck with Saxo-Tinkoff for the final spot in the top league. Saxo-Tinkoff is lead by Alberto Contador who returned from a doping ban this year and immediately won the Vuelta.

The three pro Dutch teams – Argos-Shimano, Rabobank and Vacansoleil-DCM will next week sit down with the national cycling federation and the national anti-doping agency for discussions. Cycling federation president Marcel Wintels is said to “strongly agree” with Spekenbrink.

Rabobank, which will likely compete as a “white label” team next year due to the loss of its title sponsor, is also looking for change.

"We support the call by Iwan Spekenbrink,” said spokesman Richard Plugge. “We introduced that policy ourselves a long time ago."

Rabobank said that it decided to end its 17-year sponsorship because of the revelations of the USADA investigation and the problems of doping in professional cycling.

The Vacansoleil-DCM team agreed that it two-year suspensions are not long enough.

“This is something you can do as a team but actually the UCI, organizers and WADA must make a uniform decision,” said spokesman Frank Kwanten. “We believe that a rider caught for blood doping should be  suspended longer, at least four years."

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