Doping scandal brewing in Belgium

Belgian politician Jean-Marie Dedecker has set off what could turn into another doping scandal involving Belgium's top riders. The VLD (Flemish Liberals and Democrats) senator revealed last week that he had reliable information that three top Belgian riders went to Italy in February this year to undergo a doping program. He would not reveal their names publicly, but did say he would do so in front of a judge. On Monday of this week, Dedecker told Dutch TV that he knew of a fourth rider who had asked a doctor for EPO.

The comments prompted a swift and angry reaction from Quick.Step team manager Patrick Lefevere, who felt as though the image of Tom Boonen was being attacked. Lefevere wants to take legal action against Dedecker, with the support of the IPCT (International Professional Cycling Teams, a group formed out of 18 of the 20 ProTour teams) and the Celio sports management company.

But Lefevere doesn't have the support of Belgium's other ProTour team Davitamon-Lotto in its campaign against the senator. "At the moment, there isn't nearly enough that has been put forward to undertake legal steps against Jean-Marie Dedecker, and hopefully all parties will act with the necessary calmness."

The Belgian cycling federation's prosecutor Jaak Fransen will meet with senator Dedecker to discuss his allegations. Fransen will make a decision on September 27 whether to pursue things further.

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