Hoogerland reveals extensive testing, defends Cancellara
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Hoogerland reveals extensive testing, defends Cancellara

by Conal Andrews at 8:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Amstel Gold Race
 

Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland will be one of the outsiders aiming to do well in this Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. The 26 year old Vacansoleil rider had his best-ever season last year, taking a stage plus the overall classification in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, twelfth in the Tour of Flanders, twelfth overall in the Vuelta a España, 14th (plus first Dutch rider) in the world road race championships, and then fifth in the Giro di Lombardia.

However the jump up in his performances has also resulted in a major increase in scrutiny. “Including out-of-competition controls, I’ve had twenty tests. I think only Lance Armstrong has more. I support clean cycling and get through the checks. They can come test me, I have nothing to hide,” he told De Telegraaf.

Hoogerland’s sudden increase in form raised some eyebrows, although he said during last year’s Vuelta that a major reason for his improvement has been loss of weight. A high testosterone reading was detected in an anti-doping test in 2001, although he was not sanctioned. Details are scarce, but it is understood that doctors vouched for him as having naturally elevated level of the hormone in his body.

He was competing with the Rabobank youth team at the time and was quickly dropped. He criticised this presumption of guilt afterwards and, maybe because of that, regrets the questions some are raising about Fabian Cancellara’s dominance in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

“I regret they are looking so much in this way on cycling,” he said. “Now I hear whispers about Fabian Cancellara. Why can they not accept that he simply was the best in Flanders and Roubaix?”

In January Hoogerland disclosed that he had clocked up over 8,000 kilometres in training in three months. He said then that he would target three big spring Classics.

“The Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) could also be a goal, but victory there requires luck,” he told Wielerland. “Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège are more straightforward in that respect.”

He finished eleventh in this year’s Tour of Flanders, and will aim to step things up in the hillier Classics ahead.

“My goal this year is to win a big race…at least a semi-Classic,” he stated.

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