Dekker says former Silence-Lotto doctor injected him with cortisone

In the latest revelations from Thomas Dekker's new autobiography, the Dutchman has accused former Silence-Lotto doctor Jan Mathieu of giving him cortisone injections with forged medical certificates.

Dekker rode for Silence-Lotto for the first half of the 2009 season before he was sacked following a re-test of a 2007 sample resulted positive for EPO. He was subsequently given a ban from January 2009 to the beginning of 2011.

During his brief tenure at the Belgian squad, Dekker says that Mathieu – who no longer works for the team – would come up with false injuries in order to circumvent anti-doping regulation. Cortisone is often used as a painkiller or can be used to treat illnesses such as asthma. It can also aid weight loss and is also believed to increase airflow to the lungs. It is a controlled substance but can be used by riders with a Therapeutic Use Exemption.

"Well I get from the team doctor Jan Mathieu, cortisone injections with a forged medical certificate," Dekker writes, according to Het Nieuwsblad. "Mathieu invents each time a new injury: one time I have problems with my left knee, other times it's my shoulder or my buttocks."

Dekker went into further detail, citing the build-up to the Amstel Gold Race as time when he got these injections, adding that while it was done behind closed doors he got the sense that it was a common occurrence within the team.

"When he speaks volumes, he speaks in dashes - the markings on the syringe. Each line is a tenth of a millilitre. On the Thursday before the Amstel Gold Race I got five bars, two and a half on Saturday," said Dekker. "He did the injections with the door closed so that the others see nothing. But at the same time he speaks about the injections to other riders. It is clear to me that it is an established practice in the squad."

Dr Mathieu defended his actions to Het Nieuwsblad, saying that he only acted within the regulations set down by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"Local cortisone injections occurred only in cases of medical necessity and in accordance with the rules of WADA. I want to leave it at that," he said.

Cyclingnews contacted the team, which now races under the name Lotto-Soudal, but they did not want to make any comment. Dekker did defend the team to a certain extent, saying that team in general didn't turn a blind eye to doping and that team manager Marc Sergent was good for the sport.

"No, the message certainly was not: Do what you want, as long as we just do not know," he said. "Marc Sergeant was in my opinion really the best for cycling. In addition to the cortisone use, I never had knowledge of other doping practices at Silence-Lotto."

Several sections of Dekker's book, which is called 'My Fight', have been released this week. In one, Dekker detailed the doping practices of his team prior to Silence-Lotto, Rabobank. He also reconfirmed that he was the rider 'Clasicomano Luigi' in Dr Eufemiano Fuente's files discovered by Operacion Puerto.

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