Cooman questions De Cauwer's appointment

Doctor Hans Cooman has denied Eddy Merckx's allegations that the "doping-hunters" seem to do their job, only looking for profit. "I don't think so," said Cooman in Het Laatste Nieuws, the same newspaper in which Merckx made the earlier statements. "Wether we catch one hundred or five hundred athletes; we don't earn a cent more. It's the doping dealers who are after the big money. We just want a clean sport. And we know that not everyone agrees with us on that."

The appointment of José De Cauwer as youth-coordinator with the Davitamon-Lotto team is something that Cooman thinks of as strange. "I don't know if De Cauwer will be sanctioned (for passing on amphetamines to a cyclist) But if he does, he doesn't seem to be the ideal person to lead the young riders."

The Belgian National Lottery recently gave €58,000 to the Flemish Community to buy a Sysmex, a device used to analyse blood samples. At the same time, the Lottery is sponsoring Davitamon-Lotto, which is now employing De Cauwer.

It is known that there were meetings between Omega Pharma boss Marc Coucke and Miel Van den Bosch of the National Lottery before it was agreed to contract De Cauwer. And strangely enough, there were no objections.

"The appointment of José De Cauwer fits into our social reintegration program. It's an active policy of the National Lottery to give people a second chance." says Lotto spokeswoman Ann Publie. "That's why we agreed on taking him on as youth-coordinator."

This all happened one week before the trial of De Cauwer starts. No matter wether De Cauwer gets fined, sanctioned or not, it won't cost him his income. "The facts are old" says Ann Publie "things were completely different ten years ago.

"On top of that, it has nothing to do with his job as youth-coordinator in our team," according to Omega Pharma spokesman Philippe Demyttenaere "We know the facts and don't have a problem with them."

The transfer of De Cauwer from the National Federation to the Davitamon-Lotto team also solves a sensitive issue. "If De Cauwer is convicted heavily, then it would be almost impossible to keep his job as National Coach," Tom Van Damme (director Belgian Federation) had said. This way, no-one needs to be fired.

Courtesy of Sabine Sunderland

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