Kohl lightens conscience, Rasmussen faces further questions
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kohl lightens conscience, Rasmussen faces further questions

by Conal Andrews at 2:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Former Austrian professional rider Bernhard Kohl has continued to talk about his doping practices in professional cycling, giving more information on his past. In the sixth instalment of his articles in the Austrian Kurier newspaper, he stated that he initially had doubts about spilling the beans, but was then told that he risked spending time in prison if he gave false testimony.

"It was a good feeling to tell everything,” he admitted, speaking of the relief of unburdening himself of the secrets. “But I also asked myself during the turbulent spring if the public ever wanted to know the truth. I was called a traitor by some.”

Kohl’s latest interview reveals more details about how he doped, but also spoke about the other riders involved in the Humanplasma lab doping affair. According to him, the Dane Michael Rasmussen not only helped finance the blood centrifuge used by the athletes involved, but also he and cross-country skier Christian Hoffmann helped to pay the rent of the apartment where it was used. Both have denied this.

In addition, Kohl stated that he helped to finance an amount of 20,000 euro for the blood centrifuge, and that others also contributed. "As Stefan Matshiner said, cross-country skier Christian Hoffmann and cyclist Michael Rasmussen [were involved]. Subsequently, Stefan also said that Michael Boogerd, Pietro Caucchioli and Thomas Dekker have used the equipment on payment of an application fee. I can not say the price.”

Kohl estimates that he paid his former agent Matshiner between 50,000 and 70,000 euro for his role in his doping, but said that he didn’t get the third generation EPO, CERA, from him. Instead, he confirmed to investigators that the source was the triathlete Hannes Hempel.

Rasmussen is currently making a comeback to cycling after serving a suspension for lying about his whereabouts prior to the 2007 Tour de France. He risks a lifetime ban if it is proven that he was involved in the Humanplasma Affair. Dekker was recently deemed positive for CERA and faces a ban of between two to four years. Boogerd, who retired two years ago, has denied doping during his career.

As for Caucchioli, the Italian was racing with the Lampre NGC team earlier this season but has been suspended since June due to abnormalities in his biological passport.

Kohl finished third overall and won the King of the Mountains in last year’s Tour de France, but was then disqualified after testing positive for CERA. He was served a two-year ban but announced his retirement from cycling in on May 25th.

While some will be critical of his confessions since testing positive, he has helped anti-doping authorities to make advances in the fight against drug use in the sport. The Austrian special doping commission SoKo has described his statements as "absolutely credible."
 

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