Dekker out of Tour after testing positive for EPO
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dekker out of Tour after testing positive for EPO

by VeloNation Press at 9:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping

Thomas Dekker from the Silence-Lotto team has tested positive for the banned blood-booster EPO.

The Dutch rider has been caught with a new testing procedure developed to detect the drug from a sample given on December 24, 2007 when he was riding for the Rabobank team.

The Silence-Lotto website states that they "learned Wednesday morning that further analysis performed in May at the initiative of the World Anti-Doping Agency on a urine sample from December 24, 2007 taken during a surprise doping control has tested positive to EPO."

In 2008 Dekker had been overlooked for the Tour de France team by Rabobank for cited concerns with his fitness despite winning a stage in the Tour of Romandie.  After the Tour it was reported that his non-selection was because of abnormally high blood parameters, an indication that blood manipulation had taken place.  The situation led to the cyclist leaving the team.  At the time Dutch media reported that Rabobank management was unhappy with his negative attitude toward their anti-doping program.

Silence-Lotto manager Marc Sergeant told L'Equipe he was "very disappointed".  He also pointed out that, "This came up while Dekker was riding for Rabobank, not Silence-Lotto, but the news is no less painful. The rider was immediately suspended."

In a statement the International Cycling Union said it has "instructed the Monegasque Cycling Federation, to which Mr Dekker is affiliated, to open disciplinary proceedings on this matter."

"The UCI's request is based on two elements of evidence collected within the biological passport programme: Mr Dekker's haematological profile and a laboratory report indicating the detection of recombinant EPO (Dynepo) in a urine sample.

"According to a panel of scientific experts, the haematological profile established from blood samples collected from Mr Dekker in 2008 and 2009 demonstrates convincing evidence of the use of the prohibited method of enhancement of oxygen transfer."

The suspicion of blood doping from their biological passport program prompted the UCI to  perform the newly developed testing procedures on Dekker's urine sample from December 2007.

Dekker was set to be one of the main lieutenants for two-time runner up Cadel Evans but will now be replaced by Charles Wegelius.  While the loss of Dekker will serve as a blow to their much needed horsepower for the Australian's Tour bid, it could also serve as a sort of motivator considering his outspoken stance against doping in the peloton.


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