LefévŠre accused of doping practices

Belgian daily Het Laatse Nieuws has accused Quick.Step manager Patrick LefévŠre of being involved in

Belgian daily Het Laatse Nieuws has accused Quick.Step manager Patrick LefévŠre of being involved in
PIC BY AUSTRALIAN CUSTOMS Patrick Lefvre, one of cycling's highest profile team managers and the president of the International Professional Cycling Teams group (IPCT), has been accused of being involved with doping for the past 30 years. Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws published the story by investigative journalist Maarten Michielssens on Tuesday. It alleged that Lefvre had taken amphetamines during his career as a cyclist (which he admits), but also that he had - as a manager - allowed doping to take place within his team. Lefvre denied this strongly, calling most of the article "nonsense and bullshit" and threatening to sue the newspaper. The article quoted two sources on the record - Luc Capelle, and Roland Coolsaet - and six others anonymously. Capelle, who is currently serving time in prison for attempted murder, said that he supplied Lefvre with doping products when they raced together in the 1970s. Coolsaet is the organiser of the Driedaagse van De Panne, and recalled to HLN the time the Lefvre-led Mapei team was raided during his race in 1999. Customs police had intercepted a package containing amphetamines sent from the team's hotel in De Panne to the house of retired pro Gianni Bugno in Italy. The Mapei riders were all withdrawn from the race for questioning, but none were charged. In the end, Italian soigneur Tiziano Morassut, Gianni and his father Giacomo Bugno, and Belgian Edouard Vanhulst were all given six month suspended sentences and fines for the purchase and possession of amphetamines. Of these, only Morassut was active within Mapei, and he claimed he was acting alone. The HLN anonymously quoted an Italian doctor who had worked with the team, who claimed that there was organised doping there during the '90s. "Growth hormone came from the pharmacy, EPO was ordered by the riders via the internet," the doctor said. "If you wanted to ride a good season, you would have to spend between 20,000 and 30,000 euros, including the products. Lefvre knew that, saw it happening, and approved it." Lefvre, now the manager of Quick.Step, strongly denied this, telling Het Nieuwsblad, "I never worked with an Italian doctor during that period. The only doctor I came into contact with was [Ivan] Van Mol ... I was a sports director then, not yet a manager. I only took that job after 1999. Speaking to Sporza, Lefvre admitted one thing: "I took amphetamines as a rider, the rest is nonsense," he said. "Seven, eight times, and my body rejected them. Dealer? Rubbish. The only times that I was doping, I had to pay for it." Finally, Lefvre was quoted by Het Nieuwsblad as saying, "I formally deny all these accusations ... A lawsuit will surely follow. I will not let myself be unjustly accused of being a doper or a drug dealer. Certainly not from someone who is still in jail and has three murder attempts to his name [referring to Luc Capelle]."
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