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Report: seven out of eight PDM riders doped at 1988 Tour de France

Steven Rooks in the polka dot jersey at the 1988 Tour de France. Next to Rooks is Dutch PDM teammate Gert-Jan Theunisse and yellow jersey Pedro Delgado.

Steven Rooks in the polka dot jersey at the 1988 Tour de France. Next to Rooks is Dutch PDM teammate Gert-Jan Theunisse and yellow jersey Pedro Delgado. (Image credit: AFP)

A Dutch newspaper has alleged that seven of the eight riders on the PDM team at the 1988 Tour de France were using banned substances. Volksrant has published extracts from the notebook used by soigneur Bertus Fok during the race, in which he details the substances administered to the riders.

According to Volksrant, Fok confirmed the authenticity of the ring-bound, team-branded notebook during an interview at his home recently. Fok, who began his career as a soigneur with Peter Post’s TI-Raleigh team, joined PDM in 1986.

Volksrant alleges that Fok was “directly responsible for the medical policy – the doctors did not make their appearance until some years later in cycling.”

Fok’s notebook, photographs of which are published on the Volksrant website, provides details of the substances he administered to his riders during the Tour. The substances and practices used by PDM riders on the race allegedly include testosterone, corticosteroids and blood transfusions. It remains unclear whether EPO was in use in the peloton as early as 1988, but Fok said that he did not administer it at PDM.

“I never occupied myself with EPO. That was too much for me,” Fok said.

PDM’s best finisher in the 1988 Tour was Steven Rooks, who came second overall behind Pedro Delgado, won on l’Alpe d’Huez and claimed the king of the mountains title. Rooks confessed to doping throughout his career in 1999.

Gert-Jan Theunisse - who had finished second behind Rooks at l’Alpe d’Huez - tested positive for testosterone during the 1988 Tour and was handed a ten-minute penalty, which relegated him from 4th to 11th place overall. In 1999, Theunisse confessed to using corticosteroids during his career but denied that he had used testosterone during the 1988 Tour.

Fok explained that Theunisse held a medical certificate to use corticosteroids. “Not everything could be detected then,” Fok said.

The PDM team, which operated between 1986 and 1992, was also embroiled in controversy during the 1991 Tour, when the entire team abandoned the race during the opening week, citing illness. A bacterial infection was initially blamed for the so-called "Intralipid Affair" and, later, the use of the fat emulsion intralipid, although speculation concerning the team’s use of doping products has always been rife. Speaking of the affair in 1997, then manager Manfred Krikke said, “The one rule imposed from the PDM directors was that there was to be ‘no drug affairs’ rather than ‘no drug taking.’”







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