NetApp Endura ends working relationship with Jens Heppner as a result of 1998 Tour de France positive
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NetApp Endura ends working relationship with Jens Heppner as a result of 1998 Tour de France positive

by Shane Stokes at 8:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
“Our new generation of riders should be able to focus on the season uninfluenced by other circumstances”

NetAppNamed last week in the French Senate Report as one of the riders who was positive for EPO in the retests carried out in 2004 but undisclosed until now, Jens Heppner has now been relieved of his position with Team NetApp Endura.

The German had been working with the team since its foundation in 2009, drawing on his experience as a pro rider and also as team manager with the previous Team Wiesenhof.

He won stage three of the 1998 Tour de France, being victorious into Lorient. While there was no test for EPO at the time and therefore he didn’t trigger any positive, Heppner was snagged in the retests.

He was also linked to the Freiburg case into the doctors Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid, who were accused of doping several riders from the Telekom/T-Mobile teams. That investigation was dropped last year as there was a lack of evidence that those doctors had broken rules in place at the time.

Heppner’s past appears now to have caught up with him, and NetApp Endura has moved relatively quickly. Today’s news comes two days after former team-mate Erik Zabel admitted to doping for much of his career.

NetApp Endura team manager Ralph Denk said that Heppner had played an important role in the team, but that the latest developments had made their collaboration impossible.

“I would like to thank Jens Heppner for the energy that he brought to our team from the very first day. Thanks to his work, we were able to establish a successful team in only three years,” he said. “In light of the current situation in the sport of cycling, both sides agree that our new generation of riders should be able to focus on the season highlights uninfluenced by other circumstances. I wish Jens Heppner all the best for the future.”

As a pro, Heppner finished tenth overall in the 1992 Tour de France and also led the Giro d’Italia for eleven days.

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