Project 1t4i manager Iwan Spekenbrink has told Cyclingnews that Marcel Kittel visited Dr. Andreas Franke at the Olympic support site in Erfurt, Germany, in 2008. Spekenbrink stressed that he believed that Kittel had not broken any sporting rules and that the doctor was part of an Olympic support point that all of professional athletes visit when they are sick.
Franke is currently under investigation by German anti-doping authorities for allegedly carrying out blood doping. He has denied the charges.
“It’s not an investigation at all looking at Marcel,” Spekenbrink told Cyclingnews.
“As a team we’ve not been notified by the UCI, the police or NADA, and that’s what I understand from Marcel, too.”
“This appears to be an investigation into a doctor in Germany and a doctor paid for by public funds. So all the athletes from a certain level and from all sports go and see this doctor.”
As well as confirming to Cyclingnews that Kittel was treated by Franke at the Olympic support point, Spekenbrink said that no payments were made between Kittel and the doctor.
“Marcel has visited this doctor when he was sick or getting sick, like many athletes did. What he told me was that in 2008 he also had this UV treatment from this doctor. He was sick, he was sent there and this doctor gave him this treatment. For Marcel, it was a normal doctor helping him when he was sick. It seems that from what I understand, and I’m not an expert, that this method was not prohibited at this time,” he said.
“It’s a treatment when people are sick, but I’m not an expert.”
Spekenbrink has built a team on set ethical criteria and has appeared transparent with the media. He confirmed that as Kittel is not under investigation the team would not take any action against their rider, but he stressed that the rider was available to help with the ongoing investigation.
“The fact I have now, and I’m also getting the information from him that he’s not part of any investigation whatsoever because this was a treatment that was not prohibited.”
“If this doctor has done things that are not totally correct, I can imagine a rider would feel misused. This was not a transfusion where they take out litres of blood and put it back. It’s a treatment for giving them some resistance when they have flu.”
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.