Doctors deny Leukemans' sex life responsible for test

In another attempt to explain his positive doping test for testosterone, Björn Leukemans has said that he was having sex when the doping controllers arrived to take his urine sample in an out-of-competition test shortly before the Worlds in September. However, anti-doping experts have laughed this explanation off. While not addressing the specific case, Wilhelm Schänzer of the anti-doping lab in Cologne, Germany, said, "If you ask whether sex has an influence on testosterone levels, I say: sex has nothing to do with synthetic testosterone." Hans Cooman of the Vlaamse Gemeenschap [Flemish Community in Belgium], who took the sample from Leukemans, confirmed to Sportwereldthat "The natural testosterone [level] may perhaps be higher [while having sex], but I do not see how sex can influence synthetic testosterone."

According to Sportwereld, Leukemans' A sample was first tested in Gent, where scientists found a too high epitestosterone/testosterone ratio: 5.7:1, with the legal threshold being 4:1. The lab then sent the sample to Cologne, Germany, which has the proper equipment to conduct the carbon isotope test for testosterone, determining if the hormone is naturally made by the body or synthetic. Leukemans has now said that he will request that the B-sample be tested in Barcelona.

Team doctor trusts the tests

Lotto-Predictor team doctor Daniel De Neve noted that Leukemans has a medical certificate for high testosterone from the Cologne lab dating back from 2001, and that the lab this time did not accept its own certificate as an explanation for the results.

He would like to believe that Leukemans didn't used any forbidden products, but for him, "If the B-sample confirms the A-sample, then he is positive. That's it. I don't know the riders well enough as people to evaluate whether they are lying or not lying." He noted that "I have been a general practitioner for 25 years and know that it frequently happens that people sometimes say things which they afterwards acknowledge were not correct.

"It is not that I condemn Björn," he continued, "but I must trust the scientific tests instead of personal judgment. I would do the same if it were Cadel Evans or Robbie McEwen involved."

Sponsor unhappy

Meanwhile, the team sponsor is understandably not happy with the current events and resulting publicity. "Whether or not it is an isolated case, whether or not Björn has had mistakes made in his test or he has cheated, we have been put in an unattractive light," said Marc Frederix, head of marketing for the sponsoring National Lottery.

The sponsoring contract expires the end of 2008. "To stop now would be to say that the whole team must pay for that one rider – if he proves to be positive," Frederix told Sportwereld. "This is an unpleasant case, but I take into account the fact that as soon as it heard the news of the A-sample, the team suspended him pending the B-sample. And if the B-sample is positive, he will be dismissed. The team management has acted properly, the more so if you compare it to how Rabobank settled the Rasmussen matter."

Frederix said that the team must improve its internal doping controls and show more initiative. "With the internal team controls it can be checked whether a rider has raised testosterone values. Why do we have to wait for tests by the Vlaamse Gemeenschap? Why can't the team itself take the initiative?"

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