Dekker vows to return after suspension

Dutchman Thomas Dekker positive for EPO

Dutchman Thomas Dekker positive for EPO (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Thomas Dekker, who has been fired by his Silence-Lotto team this week after the counter-analysis of his December 2007 doping control also came back positive, intends to sit out his punishment and then return to racing. “I know that my reputation is gone. I am the only one who can clear my name, through my future performance on the bike.”

Rabobank, for whom he rode at the time of the positive test, denied knowledge of his doping and said that this was not the reason he was released in 2008.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Dekker said that it was the only time that he used the product. “It was the period when I was being continually thrown back by my hip injury. But I don't look for excuses. I was wrong.”

He continued, “I will accept the punishment and then start again. I'm still young. Too young to end my cycling career.”

The 25-year-old continued to deny that his blood values as reflected in the biological passport programme were questionable. “That is the biggest nonsense,” he said.

Dekker was under contract to Rabobank at the time of the positive doping control in 2007. The team and the rider separated last summer.

Team director Harold Knebel told the Dutch television broadcaster NOS that doping had played no role in the team's decision to terminate his contract. “The reason is that we both lost confidence in each other.” The team became aware of his doping only after the news was announced this summer, he said.

Knebel also elaborated on Rabobank's internal testing program this year. The riders underwent 12 to 14 out-of-competition controls from the team. “We have made the riders aware of the fact that dismissal immediately follows doping, and make it very clear that doping is not the way to a good career.”

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