Museeuw admits to doping useClose
A leaked email has forced Johan Museeuw into admitting doping use, and a current Quick.Step rider saPIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Belgian cycling's week of doping revelations continues, with Johan Museeuw's admission that he used performance enhancing drugs. Museeuw, who along with six others is facing trial this year for possession of EPO and Aranesp, told a press conference in Kortrijk on Tuesday, "In the last year of my career, I made a mistake. I wanted to finish my career beautifully. So I did things that weren't allowed. In preparation for a few important races, I did not play the game one hundred percent honestly." Since his retirement in 2004, Museeuw has been working as a PR officer for the Quick.Step team, a position which he has now resigned from. But during that time he has also been facing a court case, served a two year "ban" from cycling (although he had retired), and had intense media pressure, all because of his involvement in the Jose Landuyt doping affair. Museeuw was pushed into his admission on Tuesday as a result of an investigative report by Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. On Tuesday, the paper published an article accusing Quick.Step team manager Patrick Lefvre of being involved with doping for 30 years, which Lefvre mostly denied. But HLN also let it be known that on Wednesday, it would publish an email dated February 11, 2005, in which Museeuw had outlined to his occasional training partner, Wouter Vandenhaute, a public confession about his drug use. HLN journalist Maarten Michielssens explained to the TV program Morgen Beter on Tuesday evening, "That week [February 11, 2005] Museeuw wanted to come out with his confession. But it was prevented by his employer, Patrick Lefvre." Michielssens added that he was "absolutely certain of my sources. Otherwise you can't publish such a story." Museeuw confirmed at his press conference that he had been prepared to confess in 2005. "Not everything that has been said about me is correct," he said. "But what Vandenhaute wrote in that mail is largely correct. "I have still the utmost confidence in the fact that I have done nothing that I can be criminally punished for. But that doesn't take away from the fact that I have not been honest. And I'm sorry about that. My family and I have paid dearly for it. I want the press to put a line under this affair." Museeuw called the allegations against Lefvre, "A new sad high point. But I realise that I have also contributed to that. I did things that weren't allowed. I will keep fighting for a clean sport, but what happened, I can't set straight any more." Quick.Step rider: organised doping in team Wednesday's edition of Het Laatste Nieuws also featured an interview with an anonymous, but still active Quick.Step rider. The cyclist spoke out of frustration at what he thought was Lefvre's double standard with respect to doping. "There are basically three types of riders in our team," he said. "At the bottom level: the discards, the riders that have to go 100 kilometres. They take nothing, or maybe a bit of caffeine or cortisone. Patrick Lefvre barely knows their names. "Level two: the domestiques that have to last for a long time, they require a few extras. And then you have the real toppers. They take the important stuff. At Quick.Step, it's generally EPO in low doses, IGF and growth hormone. Undetectable." The rider said that Lefvre and team doctor Ivan Van Mol were party to the scheme. "You give a yearly sum to team doctor Van Mol. He then advises you about products and regulates the doses. Riders look for their products partly outside the team, but Quick.Step itself has an excellent doping system, via Lefvre and Van Mol. They know everything that's going on and earn [money] from it too. "I can't prove anything, but I know it with 110 percent certainty. What's 20,000 euro if you earn a million euro? And if anyone is caught, then they know nothing." The cyclist explained his motivation for speaking to the press, as it could put his job in danger. "I have to really be stupid to tell all this. All my colleagues keep quiet, but I don't want a part of their story. Patrick Lefvre is a fine man, I mean it, but he has kicked others in the shins a bit too often. He carries himself like the Bill Clinton of the peloton." Lefvre, who is the head of the International Professional Cycling Teams group, was critical of the Discovery Channel team last year for signing Ivan Basso because of his Operacion Puerto implication. Former Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz also fell foul of the IPCT and Lefvre for similar reasons. "Lefvre is a charismatic figure," said the anonymous Quick.Step rider to HLN. "He can convince his riders and deceive the outside world with his words. He deceives his sponsors as well. He promises them beautiful victories in a pure sport." "The whole peloton thinks so, but no-one dares to say something. I am remaining anonymous because I have to pay off my house. If I stop and my money is safe, then I will speak freely." Lefevere defends Patrick Lefvre issued an official statement denying Tuesday's HLN article: "As a result of an article published today in the Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper, retaining it to be without foundation and extremely detrimental to both my personal and professional image, that of the people that currently work or that have worked with me during the past years, I'd like to announce that I have contacted my lawyer in order to act against the authors of the above said article with the objective of defending my rights.". Lefvre has also dismissed the anonymous rider story to Sporza as, "Pure rumour. Give me just one day and I will refute everything. I will firstly wait for the full story to appear in that particular paper. I will discuss with my lawyer about the legal side of it. "I won't say how I will combat the rumours. I will not yet show my legal weapons. But I have definite proof, among other things, of libel." Lefvre was asked whether Museeuw's admission came at a bad time. "It's disappointing that Johan didn't say that the team and I didn't know anything about his doping use," he responded. Quick.Step rider Tom Boonen told Sporza that he doubted the authenticity of his anonymous teammate. "I don't believe that one of my teammates has said this," said Boonen. "I don't even believe that this person exists ... Pretty much everything is lies, save for the fact that Van Mol is our doctor and Lefvre our manager. "I really don't know where these stories have come from. Patrick Lefvre is one of the most serious people I have ever worked with. He has always emphasised doing things cleanly; he hammers that home to us. He has never incited me to do something." Quick.Step and Innergetic, the two main sponsors of the team, are waiting for further information before they decide on a course of action. "These accusations that we have learned are serious indeed," said Innergetic's Luc Maes, who in past years was also involved with Lefvre via Latexco. "We will do better to sit round the table with all of the concerned parties before we can take a clear standpoint. It will be tricky to make room in our busy agendas." Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.