Freddy Viaene, currently head soigneur for BMC Racing Team, provided testosterone for George Hincapie in 1998, according to the unredacted affidavit of Emma O'Reilly, a former soigneur for the US Postal team. The affidavit , originally filed in the USADA case against Lance Armstrong, was filed as part of the government's recent motion in the whistleblower case against Armstrong.
BMC denied any knowledge of or responsibility for the claimed actions. “This does not relate to the BMC Racing Team and it does not have anything to do with Freddy Viaene while he has been working for the BMC Racing Team,” BMC chief communications officer Georges Lüchinger told Cyclingnews.
Viaene had left the USPS team before the 1998 season, but in “May or June" of that year, Hincapie contacted O'Reilly and asked her to pick up a packet for him from Viaene. She met the Belgian and accepted the packet, saying that if she did not see Hincapie in Spain, she would take it with her to the US and give it to him there.
“When I mentioned traveling with the package to the United States, Freddy said something like, 'Don't do that. Give it to George. It is testosterone and you do not want to transport it yourself,'" she said in the affidavit.
She added that while she never saw Viaene administer doping products to riders, “'he did explain to me how certain products worked to the benefit of the riders,” and that “Freddy also told me that there were certain prohibited substances that were used by U.S. Postal Service riders.”
The affidavit was originally filed with the USADA in its case against Armstrong, with Viaene's name blacked out and referred to only as “Other 11”. According to Het Nieuwsblad, Viaene could not be reached for comment.
This is not BMC's first brush with doping or a problematic soigneur. In June 2011, part-time soigneur Sven Schoutteten was arrested in connection with a shipment of drugs seized at Brussels airport in 2009, which he claimed was for his own use. Team manager Jim Ochowicz denied knowing him, saying, “A part-time soigneur for us? His name means nothing to me,” although Schoutteten's name was listed on the team website as having worked for the team for various races in the spring of 2011, including the Giro d'Italia.
In addition, two BMC riders have been mentioned in the Mantova doping case, Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio. The team pulled them from racing in May 2011, after reports of their involvement in the investigation, citing “information received”, but Ochowicz later claimed that he had “never been notified by any authorities regarding these alleged actions and conversations.” The two had also been suspended by the team for a period in 2010 when the investigation was originally announced.
Santambrogio, who rode for the team from 2010 to 2012, tested postiive for EPO during this year's Giro d'Italia.
Ballan suffered very serious injuries in a training crash in December 2012, and was able to return to racing only briefly this season before undergoing further surgery. In July, an Italian judge ruled that Ballan, Santambrogio and 25 others should go on trail for doping in the Mantova investigation.