Freire denies Rasmussen’s suggestion of doping, Danish climber backtracks and says he never saw him take substances
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Monday, November 04, 2013

Freire denies Rasmussen’s suggestion of doping, Danish climber backtracks and says he never saw him take substances

by VeloNation Press at 1:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Orica GreenEdge wants clarification from Weening

Oscar FreireAfter Michael Rasmussen claimed yesterday that each of his team-mates during the 2007 Tour de France had used some form of doping products, triple world champion Oscar Freire has threatened to sue and caused the Dane to backtrack.

The comments were made in the course of an interview with the Danish broadcaster DR. When asked how many of the riders on the squad used banned substances, Rasmussen implicated everyone. “Within the Rabobank team: one hundred percent,” he stated. “Not everyone took the same products, but all riders were on some form of doping provided by the team.”

The riders on that year’s Tour team were Rasmussen, Freire, Pieter Weening, Dennis Menchov, Thomas Dekker, Juan Antonio Flecha, Michael Boogerd, Grischa Niermann and Bram de Groot.

Rasmussen was the strongest rider in the race and appeared set to win overall, but was taken out of the Tour by his Rabobank team after pressure grew over him missing pre-race doping controls and lying about his whereabouts.

He had claimed he was in Mexico when in fact he was training in Italy. Rasmussen eventually served a lengthy ban in connection with that.

He has released a tell-all autobiography, with details emerging last week and over the weekend. These include allegations made against a range of riders, including Ryder Hesjedal. This prompted the Canadian Garmin-Sharp rider to admit doping a decade ago.

Responding to Rasmussen’s claims of yesterday, Freire has denied the allegation and threatened legal action. He said that he contacted Rasmussen and made clear that he was not impressed.

“He said that he has never mentioned my name. I don’t understand. He can speak for himself or for those who he has seen take substances, but not the whole team. I won’t allow that.

“I hope he proves it because if not, I’ll take action.

He said that Rasmussen is likely trying to cause a stir. “Probably what Rasmussen wants is to sell many books, but it cannot be. These things do a lot of damage to cycling and to all of those who have been part of it.”

He added that he didn’t do much of that year’s Tour, leaving after the six stage due to a bad saddle sore.

Answering Freire, Rasmussen backtracked on his claim that one hundred percent of the team doped.

“There was organized doping, but it did not include all the riders," he told EFE. "Not once in my life did I see Oscar Freire doping. Flecha as well, he also didn’t know anything.”

Meanwhile the Orica GreenEdge team has said that it will seek to determine the truth about Weening after he too was implicated under statement that ‘one hundred percent’ of the team doped.

“We have been made aware of certain allegations put forward regarding Pieter Weening,” it said in a statement sent to the Advertiser.

“We have asked Pieter to fully re-confirm his legally binding written statement to the team regarding his career and these issues before and after joining the team, specifically with regards to the current allegations.

“The team is also aware that Pieter has made himself fully available to any formal inquiry by the Dutch Federation and will follow up when these have been concluded, should there be a relevant reason to.”

Orica GreenEdge had previously required all its riders to sign a declaration that they had not doped in the past. Stuart O’Grady was one of those who signed that, but then was forced to admit doping in 1998 after his name came up in relation to retests.

Weening inked a new contract this year and is set to remain part of the team until the end of 2015. He is a past stage winner in both the Tour and the Giro d’Italia.

He won the Tour of Poland this year and was runner-up in the Tour de Langkawi plus the GP Impanis-Van Petegem.

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