Dutch Ex-Cyclist Admits Doping

A former Dutch professional cyclist who once edged Lance Armstrong to win the Amstel Gold Race had admitted to using performance enhancing drugs.

Michael Boogerd, the spring classic specialist, admitted to making the use of performance enhancing drugs for a decade during his career. Boogerd revealed he used EPO and cortisone besides using blood transfusions in the last period of his career and added that he doped from 1997 to 2007, a period that covered almost his entire professional career.

Boggerd rendered an apology for keeping the doping culture alive and said he is sorry that he cannot accept that doping was wrong. The cyclist admitted to using the Austrian blood lab, Humanplasma, for transfusions and said he flew to Vienna for blood transfusions and stored his own blood for later use though he did not name anyone who helped him dope and remarked doping was his responsibility and choice.

The confession by the Dutch former cyclist came after several reports linked the former Rabobank rider to doping practices, including going to the Vienna lab. The cyclist, who retired in 2007, had two Tour de France stage wins and won the Amstel Gold classic in 1999, narrowly beating Lance Armstrong, who was banned for life from cycling and stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles and later confessing to doping during his seven-straight Tour victories.

Bogart won a Tour stage in 1996 and his best overall finish in the Tour was fifth in 1998. His greatest triumph was widely regarded as the 2002 Tour 16th stage win in the French Alps, including a solo climb to the finish in La Plagne. After announcing his retirement, the Dutch cyclist became a regular cycling commentator for NOS.

With this confession, Boogerd is the latest rider from the now disbanded Rabobank team to admit doping after Michael Rasmussen, a climbing specialist who won stage victories in the Tour de France and Spanish Vuelta, who admitted to taking everything from testosterone and growth hormones to blood transfusions from 1998-2010 for boosting his performance. In 2005 and 2006, Rasmussen finished the Tour de France wearing the polka dot jersey as the best climber and was the overall leader of the 2007 Tour until he was kicked off for lying about his whereabouts when he missed the pre-race doping tests. The cyclist later admitted that he had lied and was given a two-year ban from cycling.

Last year, Rabobank ended its long sponsorship of professional cycling and said the trust in the cycling world has gone after the publication of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s report on Lance Armstrong and Bert Bruggink of the board of governors said that we are no longer convinced that the international professional cycling world is capable of creating a clean and honest sport.

A judicial inquiry was recently opened by Belgian authorities into Dr. Geert Leinders, who worked for the Rabobank and Team Sky cycling teams. An investigation was launched by the prosecutor’s office in Dendermonde after a Dutch newspaper claimed the Belgian doctor played a key role in alleged doping practices at the former Rabobank team.

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