Belkin states it has no reason to further investigate team workers accused by Rasmussen
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Monday, November 18, 2013

Belkin states it has no reason to further investigate team workers accused by Rasmussen

by Shane Stokes at 11:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Team says MPCC does important work for credibility of the sport

BelkinResponding to claims made in recent weeks by Michael Rasmussen about the claimed past actions of two of its staff members, the Belkin team has said that it doesn’t plan to take further action after carrying out an initial enquiry into his allegations.

The former Tour de France King of the Mountains winner accused the team’s doctor Dion van Bommel and bus driver Piet de Vos in relation to their conduct several years ago with the Rabobank squad, Belkin’s predecessor.

Rasmussen competed with the team between 2003 and 2007, but they parted ways after Rabobank pulled him out of the Tour de France while in the race lead. He had lied about his whereabouts before the race started, thus preventing proper anti-doping controls.

Van Bommel had already been cleared by the team earlier this year. Rasmussen had said then that he knew of doping on the team, although he wasn’t directly involved. He also said that the doctor had handed out certificates relating to cortisone use.

The team said in March that it had interviewed him in an internal investigation but found nothing. Rasmussen repeated the claims recently in his newly published book Gele Koorts [Yellow Fever], saying that Van Bommel had written a false certificate for cortisone. It claimed that the rider had an injury which he wasn’t suffering from, thus enabling him to use a substance which would otherwise have been restricted by regulations.

As for de Vos, Rasmussen claimed that the driver hid EPO in his underpants when the team bus underwent a surprise raid during the 2007 Tour. He said that as a result of that, the two gendarmes who had boarded the vehicle did not discover the banned hormone.

Despite the fact that employees of Dutch cycling teams signed a certificate of good conduct last spring, stating that they had never been involved with doping matters and would accept dismissal if this was proven not to be true, Belkin today has stated that nothing more will be done.

“The management of the Belkin Pro Cycling Team checked external sources and talked at detail with team doctor, Dion van Bommel and bus driver, Piet de Vos in response to Michael Rasmussen's recent statements,” said the team in a statement. “Both employees fully cooperated. The team has no reason to investigate further or to take action against them. The management of Belkin Pro Cycling supports both employees and closes the case.”

Separately, Team Belkin manager Richard Plugge has told VeloNation that he believes the MPCC should continue to push for additional measures to fight doping in the sport, thus encouraging others to follow suit.

He said that the body can help to restore the credibility of the sport. It includes a number of voluntary anti-doping commitments, including restrictions on the use of corticoids, a suspension from racing if a rider has low cortisol levels, a suspension of the whole team if more than one rider is positive in a certain time period, restrictions on signing riders returning from suspensions of more than six months plus other measures.

“As an additional movement, next to the formal UCI, AIGCP, PCC etc, we see the MPCC especially as a movement that can work on the image of the sport, than can play a big role in promoting the sport and restrain credibility,” he stated today.

“Furthermore the MPCC could give signals to their members to keep to their own rules and be really strict in enforcing the rules of being a voluntary member of the MPCC. The MPCC is not a body which legislates, but could come up with proposals for new rules, as the MPCC did with the eight day rule. The UCI incorporated this rule and that is a big gain for the sport.”

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