By Brecht Decaluwé in Harelbeke
Before the start of the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen in Harelbeke, Cyclingnews caught up with Koen Terryn, team manager of the Belgian Unibet.com team, whose rider Geert Omloop and Dave Bruylandts (the latter previously expected to join the team on April 1) have being placed under temporary suspension.
Terryn said he spoke with both riders to hear their opinion on the latest police raids that took place last Thursday, acting under orders from judicial authorities in Turnhout: "We had a chat for about a half an hour. Immediately, I saw that Omloop is innocent," he said. "He's [been] riding in our team for three years and I know he's honest. He is hurt by this case and he declared to me that he didn't do anything illegal.
"Most of the products that were found at his place were returned. Still, there are four products kept behind. Those products are not illegal, so we trust him. His problem is that he's not a climber - these [the Spring Classics] are his races, so he wants to be riding again as soon as possible."
However, Terryn said things are different concerning the case of Dave Bruylandts, because he doesn't have a contract with Unibet as yet. "We had the intention to sign him on the first of April, but this will be delayed until he is declared innocent," he said.
"I can't assess his honesty because he's new. That's why I couldn't ask him the same questions that I posed to Omloop. We talked while preparing for the new season and he was happy to get a new chance, knowing that he couldn't make any mistakes. If it should be proven that these guys made important mistakes, they will be fired. But, it would have no consequences for the existence of the Unibet team."
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