Dekker vows to return after his ban
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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Dekker vows to return after his ban

by Conal Andrews at 7:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Dutch rider Thomas Dekker has admitted to using EPO and has said that he is determined to return to professional cycling after his ban ends.

“I will accept that sentence and then I will start again,” he said in an interview with De Telegraaf. “I’m still too young for my cycling career to come to an end, and I won’t leave the sport this way.”
 

 

The 25 year old was sacked last year by the Rabobank team amid rumours of suspicious blood values. He joined the Silence Lotto team but was then suspended immediately before the Tour de France when it was announced that he had tested positive for Dynepo, a form of the banned blood-booster EPO.

That finding had resulted from the re-examination of an out-of-competition sample taken in December 2007. That sample had originally been deemed negative, then was revisited using a more sensitive test after his biological passport profile was judged irregular by the UCI.

"I hope the punishment is not excessive", said Dekker, aware that WADA rules now permit a four year ban for a first offence. “I will return to the peloton. I know that my name is blackened. I'm the only one who can clear my name through my future performance on the bike. I’ll do it with hard work.”

Dekker maintains it was a once-off mistake, even though rumours had persisted about him for quite some time before the out of competition test date. "Call it rash," he said. "I was not comfortable in my skin. It was the period when I was always beaten back by my hip injury. But I do not make excuses…I was wrong. I offer my apologies to my employers, my teams, the other riders, the press and the fans.”

He was sacked on Wednesday by the Silence Lotto team and now faces a long period on the sidelines. However he will seek to follow the example of riders David Millar and Ivan Basso who were suspended but have been able to return to the sport. “Look how they have come back into the peloton. I know it will be difficult. But since it was announced on July 1 that I was caught, I went on the bike almost every day. I am convinced that I will persevere.”

He is now awaiting a decision on what punishment he will face.

 

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