The mother of the late Dimitri De Fauw has accused Belgian journalists of 'twisting' her son's words in order to link Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere with doping in a 2007 newspaper report.
De Fauw, a road professional with Quick Step from 2003-2005 and a well known six-day rider, took his own life last month.
Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws published an article in January 2007 entitled '30 years of doping', which cited anonymous sources in its accusation of Lefevere and his team in alleged long-term doping practices. Lefevere vehemently denied the allegations and launched subsequent legal action. The newspaper issued a retraction, but a Belgian court last month ordered the three journalists responsible for the article to pay 500,000 Euros in damages to Lefevere and 100,000 Euros to Quick Step doctor Yvan Van Mol.
It was revealed shortly after De Fauw's death that the Het Laatste Nieuws article was based on a recorded conversation between De Fauw, politician Jean-Marie Dedecker, whistleblower Jef d'Hont and HLN journalist Martin Michielsens.
In an interview with Humo published today, De Fauw's mother and uncle refute suggestions that he provided any information about doping at Quick Step.
"He was angry when he read the newspaper article," said De Fauw's mother, Claudine Verhoeven. "'I did not say that at all!' [he said], they had totally distorted his words.
"He was impressed by [politician and anti-doping crusader Jean-Marie] Dedecker, I think. Some famous people who came to interview him and said they would do anything for him: that meant something to him."
De Fauw's family claims that he was coaxed into an interview with the newspaper's reporters three months after the 2006 death of six-day rider Isaac Gálvez at the Gent Six-Day. De Fauw had collided with the Spaniard during the accident and had been deeply affected by his fellow competitor's passing.
"Dimitri completely tied up with emotion at that time. They let him say what they wanted to hear, and then used it to discredit Lefevere," said his uncle Mark De Fauw. "I've listened to a tape of the interview in the cafe of Dimitri's father, who had a copy. I can tell you, they've put a lot of words in his mouth. In his eyes it was a confidential conversation among friends, rather than a plan to attack somebody."
Mark De Fauw gave an example of the questions asked of his nephew during the Het Laatste Nieuws interview. "In the interview they had asked if the riders in the Quick Step team had to dope. 'No', Dimitri replied, 'they just say that you should be in good condition.' Then he gave the example of the Dauphiné [Libéré]: 'you must ensure that you do perform well if you want to go to the Tour [de France]'.
"Dimitri never said anything about doping."
"Look, Dimitri is gone," said De Fauw's mother. "He deserves peace. They have abused him. All I want is for it to stop now, please."
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