Van Mol, Lefevere, Boonen react to anonymous rider doping comments

Tom Boonen

Tom Boonen (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Johan Museeuw was pushed to publicly confess to 'dishonesty' when Het Laatste Nieuws said that it would publish an email from 2005 in which Museeuw confessed drug use to his occasional training partner Wouter Vandenhaute. The article released today also included quotes from an anonymous rider who is still active in the Quick Step organisation. The source described the procedures within the team, "You have the riders who must work only 100 km, who take nothing. Then there are the domestiques who must go longer, they regularly get something extra. Finally, you have the top riders who get the big resources." According to the source, the riders make a yearly payment to the team doctor Yvan Van Mol and receive recommendations to use certain products. "If someone was caught, then they knew nothing."

Van Mol responded to the story on Sporza radio. "It is difficult to react to anonymous charges," but gave some facts refuting the article. "In the article, it said that our riders had hematocrit levels during Gent-Wevelgem of between 49.6 and 49.7, but from my data, which I got from the UCI, the values that appear never exceeded 45..."

"We must be honest," said Van Mol. "We know that in the period between 1995 and 1998 there were riders who doped themselves, and that is now also still the case," but he went on to defend Patrick Lefevere, saying "Patrick then put in a structure to reduce as much as possible doping practices... . That tale in the newspaper is a hallucination, which I find really unfortunate that trees must become cut down and ink wasted to publish such nonsense."

Lefevere spoke to Sporza about the alleged comments of the anonymous rider. "Pure rumor. Give me just one day and I will refute everything. I will firstly wait for the full story to appear in that particular paper. I will discuss with my lawyer about the legal side of it. I won't say how I will combat the rumors. I will not yet show my legal weapons. But I have definite proof, among other things, of libel."

Tom Boonen focussed on his positive relationship with Lefevere and the team. "I really don't know where these stories have come from. Patrick Lefevere is one of the most serious people I have ever worked with. He has always emphasized doing things cleanly; he hammers that home to us. He has never incited me to do something." Boonen questioned the validity of the supposed teammate to Sporza. "I don't even believe that this person exists... . Pretty much everything is lies, save for the fact that Van Mol is our doctor and Lefevere our manager." Boonen also told the VRT network, "We are one of the cleanest teams around. There is no organized doping."

The team's two sponsors Quick.Step and Innergetic have declined to take action in response to the claims thus far. They intend to discuss with all involved parties prior to taking a stand.

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