Structural doping in Dutch cycling: Dutch minister

The Hague, June 18 (IANS) The majority of the Dutch professional cyclists used doping at the end of the 1990s and at the beginning of this century, says a committee headed by former Dutch justice minister Winnie Sorgdrager.

The Anti-Doping Approach Committee presented its findings in The Hague Monday after a six-month investigation into the doping culture in Dutch cycling, which was started after revelations in international and Dutch cycling last year, reports Xinhua.

Dozens of ex-riders, team managers and medical attendants were questioned. The report, called “Join or stop”, stated that the riders felt forced at that time to make a choice of doping or quitting cycling.

“In the opinion of the riders doping was crucial for the success of their careers and to meet the expectations of the team management,” the committee said.

Sorgdrager argued that doping was “structurally anchored” in Dutch men’s cycling after the introduction of the wonder drug EPO in the mid-1990s. The majority of the riders were users at the end of the 1990s and beginning of this century. The teams played a supporting rather than leading role.

The committee also stated the suspicion that doping use has decreased since 2009, but also emphasized that “It’s probably a matter of time before something new comes up that is effective and not detectable”.

As recommendation the committee focused on a change of young riders behaviour, to improve the organizational structure of the teams and to improve the anti-doping policy. They also stated that a tougher approach of notorious users seems the most effective.

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