Rabobank decries doping at team it sponsored for 17 years

The Rabobank team will be expected to make the podium on home soil

The Rabobank team will be expected to make the podium on home soil (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Rabobank has said that recent confessions that doping occurred at the team during virtually its entire 17-year sponsorship are “upsetting and shocking.” The bank said that it was convinced that it was upholding a clean sport.

“Some confessions go back to 1996, when Rabobank started cycling sponsorship. This is upsetting and shocking,” the bank said in a statement. “Rabobank stepped into cycling 17 years ago with conviction and a clear mission. Rabobank has always promoted a clean sport and has done everything from the start of its sponsorship activities to maintain a zero-tolerance policy.”

The bank announced in October that it was ending its sponsorship at the end of the year. Levi Leipheimer described doping on the team in his affidavit as part of the USADA's 'Reasoned Decision”, and the team was and still is involved in a lawsuit with Michael Rasmussen.

Since then, Thomas Dekker, Marc Lotz, Danny Nelissen and numerous anonymous riders have reported doping in their times at the Dutch team. Dekker, who called it “a way of life” at Rabobank, recently said that he will disclose all doping details to the Dutch Anti-Doping Agency.

The bank said that it hoped to “continue to contribute to a clean cycling.” It applauded the joint approach proposed by the Dutch pro teams, the anti-doping agency and the national federation, as well as the independent  Dutch commission looking into a new anti-doping approach. “If asked, Rabobank, in its responsibility as a sponsor, will wholly cooperate.”

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