Dutch cycling federation to launch anti-doping investigation

Following its request to the UCI to investigate cycling's 'doping culture' with an independent commission, the Royal Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU) has announced it will create its own national commission with the dual mission of delving into how effective its anti-doping efforts have been, and making specific recommendations on how to improve within the bounds of the Netherlands Olympic Committee (NOC) and WADA code.

The commission is set to begin on November 30 and deliver its report on June 1, 2013. The composition of the group will be determined in the coming week by the Dutch Doping Authority, the NOC and the sport's governing bodies.

The decision comes after the country lost its most involved cycling sponsor, Rabobank, which stepped away from professional cycling following the release of the USADA report against Lance Armstrong, which detailed doping on Dutch teams by American rider Levi Leipheimer but also included redacted information about his teammates' doping activities.

"Doping has proven to be, in the past, the prevailing culture," the press release stated. "Internationally and nationally in recent years major steps have been put in the anti-doping policy (whereabouts, blood passport, more and targeted controls). In recent years, the peloton has become cleaner."

The investigation will seek to determine whether or not the culture that tolerated or even encouraged systematic doping has been driven from the sport or if doping is still common practice in cycling.

The Rabobank team suffered from several doping scandals prior to the admission to doping by Leipheimer: in 2010, some of the details of blood doping at the HumanPlasma clinic in Austria named several Rabobank riders as clients between 2003 and 2006.

Thomas Dekker was one of those named while he was serving a two-year suspension for an EPO positive, but while blood doping may be potentially be considered a second offense, he was not sanctioned for the HumanPlasma affair.

Dekker's current general manager, Garmin-Sharp boss Jonathan Vaughters wrote on the Cyclingnews forum on Wednesday detailing Dekker's doping past.

Vaughters later clarified the comments for Cyclingnews. According to the American, Dekker has experienced more testing than other riders within his current team simply due to the fact that his anti-doping violations were more recent and also "Dynepo is a more sophisticated doping method."

"We put him thorough a battery of tests which included blood, urine, and long duration physiological testing to determine lactate metabolism," Vaughters continued. "All these tests are timed to make sure the results correspond with one another and that there cannot be any manipulation of the results.

"We do it with riders coming up from the u23 ranks as well. For instance, Ramunas Navardauskas was winning every race he entered in the u23 ranks. Naturally rumors started about him doping, as he was winning "too much"... So, we surprised him by flying him down to Girona, right after he'd won a big race. We immediately blood and urine tested him, then 4 hours later physiologically tested him, then did another round of blood and urine. The results were an athlete with a 40% hematocrit, nothing in his urine, and a physiological test that reached 6watts/kg. Clearly a talented rider, not a doper.

"Thomas is also a talented rider, and our testing shows that. He's just taken a very long time to build himself back up after his suspension."

In reference to the KNWU commission and also reports that Dekker along with another former Rabobank rider Michael Boogerd, was involved with jailed doping faciliator Stefan Matschiner, Vaughters said he would encourage his rider to do the right thing.

"Thomas is obligated to be honest with any investigation, just like the rest of our guys. And we will support him."

Since then, the team has been accused by former team namager Theo de Rooy of tolerating doping. The team claims to have instituted a zero-tolerance policy since de Rooy resigned in 2007.

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