The revelations in Thomas Dekker's revealing autobiography has prompted some strong reactions from his former teammates and those mentioned in the book. Michael Boogerd has denied Dekker's account of the 2007 Tour de France, where the pair shared a room, saying that the book as comes as an 'unpleasant surprise'.
In one section of his book, Dekker details some of the doping practices and antics that he and his teammates got up to during the 2007 Tour. At the time, Dekker was racing his first Tour at the age of 22 while Boogerd was doing his last. In the book, which was written with journalist Thijs Zonneveld, Dekker explains that Boogerd discussed his use of the Human Plasma blood bank in order to blood dope. As well as their efforts to dope, Dekker says that in the run-up to the race he and Boogerd, bored of sitting in their room, decided to order prostitutes over the internet.
"I totally cannot agree with what I've read so far," Boogerd told RTL Boulevard, adding that he had been trying to get in contact with Dekker for over a year. "I've been trying in vain to get in contact with Thomas for a year and a half. The book also comes as an unpleasant surprise."
Dekker told the Dutch website Wielerflits that he has sent Boogerd some passages of his book, but he has not had any response from his former teammate. Boogerd's ex-wife has also waded in on the issue and accused Dekker of deliberately trying to hurt their family.
"Some situations are seriously exaggerated, and characters are changed or are not named consciously and unconsciously," she wrote over several posts on Twitter. "Michael is a fantastic father of my son, and I consider myself fortunate, therefore, that we can go on such friendly terms with each other. No sensational book will change all that."
Another section of the book describes a time early in his Rabobank career where he and Steven de Jongh, who was at Rabobank between 2000 and 2005, watched porn in together in their room. De Jongh reacted angrily on Twitter, accusing Zonneveld of trying to sensationalise things. "I understand that Thomas Dekker did not want it in the book," De Jongh wrote. "Thanks Thijs Zonneveld for the adversarial process. Didn't happen. Class."
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Clement and Tankink react
Stef Clement, who is moving to LottoNL-Jumbo next season, was due to appear on television chat show Brabants Wielercafé on November 23 along with Dekker but has since pulled out. Clement raced for Rabobank in the past but was never a teammate of Dekker's who left the team at the end of 2008. Clement has requested to be on a later show, saying that he wants to play no part in the publicising of the book.
"I do not want to be a part of the media offensive around this book," Clement said to the press agency ANP. "I'm not going to read it. Anyone can write whatever he wants, but Thomas has repeatedly been given the chance to give his whole story about doping to the authorities before. He did not do it then."
He was also particularly stinging about the choice of title for Dekker's book 'My Fight' saying "the title has been used before and it's not really one I'd want to be connected to" referring to the autobiography written by Adolf Hitler, 'Mein Kampf'.
Bram Tankink, who was teammates with Dekker in his final season at Rabobank in 2008, has said that Dekker's accounts do not reflect the peloton at the time. Tankink is mentioned in Dekker's book as someone who had no interest in doping. He calls Dekker's case one of extremes and not something that was rife.
"The culture that Thomas Dekker describes is the culture of Thomas Dekker. Not of cycling," Tankink told NOS. "I've been in the sport sixteen years. Thomas Dekker is not a measure of cycling he's a very excessive and destructive man. What he describes that they do one day before the Tour, I've never heard of anyone doing that..."
Dekker has defended the claims made in the book telling NOS, "If you can come up with these stories, you're a big dreamer."
Zonneveld told RTL Boulevard that Dekker has received threats from inside the cycling world due to the contents of his book. Zonnerveld hit back at criticism by suggesting a sense of omerta still remains in the sport.
"He was always afraid that something could happen," he said. "I think it's all largely harassment, but you know of course never be sure."
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