Van Moorsel: 'There is no proof' in alleged EPO use ahead of 2000 Olympics

Leontien van Moorsel in 2004

Leontien van Moorsel in 2004 (Image credit: Michael Aisner)

Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel is back in the news reiterating that she did not take EPO during her illustrious professional cycling career. The former Dutch racer told, "I cannot come with proof, because there is no proof."

Van Moorsel raced in the 1980s through 2005, briefly leaving the sport to treat an eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. Returning to cycling, she later won three Olympic gold medals; one in the road race (2000) and twice in the time trial (2000 and 2004). She won world titles in on the road (1991 and 1993) and in the time trial (1998 and 1999), in addition to winning major women's stage races Grand Boucle and Tour de l'Aude.

In an interview published in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant in September, Dutch doctor Peter Janssen stated that he purchased and then administered EPO to Van Moorsel ahead of the 2000 Olympic Games held in Sydney.

"She made an appointment because she sought guidance for her anorexia. She wanted her weight to be checked," Janssen said in the September interview. "Leontien's husband, Michael Zijlaard, was always there. They came outside the office hours. I think they might have been six times. There was often a long time between, and at the last of those consultations it was then asked if it was possible to try a cure."

She has always denied the claims saying that she visited Dr. Janssen's practice to receive advice about her diet and training plans, and added "I am very grateful to Dr. Janssen. He gave me the motivation when I made my comeback to believe in myself again."

In a new interview, Van Moorsel vehemently denies allegations of EPO use, and told, "he says I did it, and I say I did not do it. But I cannot come with proof, because there is no proof."

She also said that after Dr. Janssen's claims were published, she was forced to remove herself from the spotlight so that the allegations did not affect her family.

"Go and explain to your 10-year-old daughter that the world is so hard. That hurts yourself and your family a lot. So we deliberately opted to take a break from the picture. If I had not had a child, I certainly would not have done that."

She said she has not considered taking legal action against Dr. Janssen over the allegations because she does not want the issue to continue.

"Then you let the issue live longer," she said. "And then it is your family, because your child is also burdened with that. Moreover, it becomes a game of he said, she said."

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