Unibet suspends Omloop in wake of raids

The Unibet.com team has suspended Geert Omloop in the wake of the Belgian police drug raids on Thursday. Although the investigation by the court in Turnhout is still open, Unibet.com has suspended Omloop, and the arrival of Dave Bruylandts to the team on April 1 is now up in the air.

While several other riders named by Gazet van Antwerpen have already denied that their homes were searched, Bruylandts has admitted that one did take place. "There were a few things taken from me, but whether they are the products specified in a well known newspaper, I will not offer an opinion. I am, after all, not a doctor," he said in a statement from his lawyer, Frederic Lenders, who added, "The interrogation was mainly concerned with the contact of Bruylandts with the others named in the investigation. Dave was heard as a witness, not as a suspect."

"Geert Omloop is for me a clean rider," said Unibet's team manager Koen Terryn to Het Laatste Nieuws. "I have full confidence in him. Dave Bruylandts is only on our payroll from April 1, and so cannot yet be called a rider of Unibet.com. Christophe Roodhooft and Peter Wuyts have left our team [at the start of 2006 for Palmans-Collstrop - ed]. Of course there will be a link made to our team.

"I am waiting for further information and can't yet do much about this whole affair. It's logical that we will take sanctions if Omloop and Bruylandts are really 'mixed up' in this affair."

Roodhooft and Wuyts have denied any involvement in the investigation, as has Sven Vanthourenhout, who was one of those named by GVA. "I don't know anything. I've not spoken with anyone from the court. Where did they get that from? Of course I know the others named. Am I therefore guilty? That can't be possible? I am clean."

Jan Verstraeten also denied that he was raided. "I don't know of any house search, so there were also no products found at mine. I've already got phone calls from Hans van Kasteren, my current team manager, and Jurgen Mettepenningen, with whom I am talking about a contract for next season. My name is damaged, but I stand upright."

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