Actualité du dopage

Vacansoleil team accused of using cortisone TUEs for several riders

02/05/2018 -

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Dutch publication has alleged that the former Vacansoleil-DCM team used Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) for ‘non-existent’ injuries in order to obtain cortisone for several riders within the team. AD reports that a doctor at the team, which was founded in 2009 and disbanded in 2013, obtained TUEs for Johnny Hoogerland and Aart Vierhouten. Both have denied the accusations.

The accusations come days after former rider Lieuwe Westra admitted to utilising the TUE system to get cortisone (...). In his recently released autobiography, Westra says that he would feign an injury, such as an inflammation in the knee, and then apply for a TUE for cortisone.

"Within a few months, I noticed that riders were guilty of using cortisone," Westra wrote in his book. "It was secretly talked about. You felt no pain through an injection, you could go deeper, and the euphoria became master of your body. Every rider of note provided a medical certificate for the Classics and other big competitions."

Westra recalled in his book how general manager Daan Luijkx confronted him about the cortisone injections but said that they were often overlooked if a rider was performing. Luijkx has denied that false TUE applications were submitted and has said that the team always complied with UCI regulations.

The article also reports a face-off between Luijkx and team doctor at the time, Peter Janssen, during the 2009 Vuelta a España. The two were reportedly arguing loudly with each other in the car park of their hotel about whether or not rider Matteo Carrara should continue the race. According to AD, Carrara had been riding the race with a TUE for cortisone and had dangerously low levels of cortisol, a side-effect of using cortisone.

Janssen wanted Carrara to leave, while Luijkx did not. Luijkx, according to the article, believed that Janssen was overstepping his job brief and Carrara was kept in the race. Janssen submitted his resignation on the spot. Luijkx told AD that Carrara had been suffering from knee problems during the 2009 Vuelta.

Cyclingnews called and left messages for Luijkx but he did not respond.

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