Michael Boogerd has expressed his willingness to extend a helping hand to compatriot and former teammate Thomas Dekker while the latter undergoes a two-year doping suspension handed down by the UCI last week.
Boogerd says that Dekker is welcome to stay at his home “for two quiet weeks”, should his former teammate need any assistance or support. The two cyclists were part of the Rabobank pro-cycling team until Boogerd’s retirement in 2007.
Michael Boogerd says that Dekker needs to stay motivated if he wants to return to top riding form, and mentions other formerly-suspended cyclists who were able to make a successful return to cycling, such as David Millar and Ivan Basso. He adds that Dekker just needs a chance and hopes that the “doping stigma” will not hound his compatriot for the rest of his life.
For his part, Dekker admits that he definitely deserves a suspension, but says that he also deserves a chance to make a comeback. “Errors are made everywhere. It would be strange that you as a rider make no mistakes.”
However, Dekker also expressed his opinion that the doping suspensions should be abolished, saying that suspending a rider for two years “is useless” and will punish a rider for his whole life. Dekker is not looking forward to leaving the sport of cycling like that, as he mentions that he will “definitely return and clear my name.”
Thomas Dekker’s problems began when a blood sample taken from him last December 2007 yielded suspicious results, and had to be re-tested. The UCI took notice and retroactively tested his samples from 2007, which eventually was conformed to contain traces of Dynepo. Dynepo is a form of the banned drug EPO.
Dekker denied any knowledge or action of taking the banned substance, but was forced to admit his guilt later on after his “B” sample also yielded positive results. The UCI then handed down a 2-year suspension, which will see Dekker returning to action on July 2011.
Dekker was riding for Team Rabobank when the first sample was taken in 2007. He transferred to Team Silence-Lotto later on, but was immediately fired after his “B” sample also tested positive.
After his suspension is served, Dekker will be free to compete in the Tour de France, but there are doubts on whether or not he will be able to find a team that will sign him, and if the race organizers will be willing to let him compete.
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