Rabobank ‘disappointed’ by Leipheimer’s confession of doping on the team
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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rabobank ‘disappointed’ by Leipheimer’s confession of doping on the team

by Shane Stokes at 7:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Omega Pharma Quick Step puts rider on non-active status after USADA testimony

Levi LeipheimerFollowing yesterday’s release of documents by USADA which included an admission by Levi Leipheimer that he used banned products for much of his career, his former Rabobank team and his current employer Omega Pharma Quick Step have both reacted to the news.

Leipheimer said he began using EPO in 1999 while part of the Saturn team, used it along with other doping products while with the US Postal Service team between 2000 and 2001, and continued using banned substances while with Rabobank between 2002 and 2004 and Gerolsteiner in 2005 and 2006. He admits he also received blood transfusions en route to third in the 2007 Tour de France.

He said that while he was part of the Rabobank team, that the then team doctor – whose name is redacted from Leipheimer’s affidavit – was one of those who supplied him with EPO.

Responding to that report today, the Rabobank team said that it was ‘specifically disappointed about the confession made by Levi Leipheimer.’

However the team does not deny doping took place, or deny that the doctor was involved. “These testimonies confirm that cycling still faces difficult times, especially created by its past,” it states. “The team’s management would like to see that the world of cycling collectively closes the issue. However, the problem appears to be so big that this should be done centrally.

“The sport of cycling has a huge past but in the meantime the sport also has a great future. The Rabobank Cycling Team is convinced the sport is heading in the right direction. The team’s management looks towards the future. Rabobank wants to achieve results in cycling in a clean and fair manner.”

It is believed that the team’s tolerance to the use of banned substances changed in 2007 when its-then leader Michael Rasmussen was expelled from the Tour de France while leading the race. He lied about his whereabouts before the event, and due to intense media pressure was pulled out by Rabobank days before winning in Paris.

Meanwhile Leipheimer’s current squad, Omega Pharma Quick Step, has said that it has put the rider on ‘non-active’ status as a result of his admission.

“The team takes the decision of USADA and the consequent statement of Mr. Leipheimer very seriously. The team wants to review and consider all the information now being made available and speak personally with the rider before a final decision is made,” it stated.

It noted that the events in question pre-dated Leipheimer’s time with the team as it referred to previous squads.

Leipheimer and the other riders who testified have been given six month suspensions, starting September 1st. He would normally be liable to at least a two year ban for using serious doping substances, but under the WADA Code significant reductions can be given to those who cooperate with doping investigations and provide important evidence.

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