Leinders on lifetime ban: “I consider myself innocent”

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Reacting to the lifetime ban handed down upon him by the American Arbitration Association today, former Rabobank and Team Sky doctor Geert Leinders appears dismissive of the outcome.

“As a physician, I consider myself innocent in this matter,” he said, according to NOS. He also made clear that the lifetime ban would have minimal impact on him. “I have already decided three years ago to not be active as a team doctor in cycling.”

Leinders has a long history in the sport, having worked as doctor for various teams. He was with Rabobank between 1996 and 2009, acting as chief team doctor and also a member of the squad’s board of directors.

After leaving the team he was taken on by Team Sky in 2010 and remained there until 2012. He was eventually dropped after testimony emerged about his past doping role.

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) received further testimony from past Rabobank rider Levi Leipheimer, while Leinders was further implicated when Michael Rasmussen gave evidence to Anti-Doping Denmark.

Those two bodies plus Anti-Doping Authority Netherlands (Doping autoriteit) collaborated in uncovering the extent of Leinders’ wrongdoing and this plus the American Arbitration Association’s work led to the lifetime ban.

The AAA concluded that he had “possessed, trafficked, and administered banned performance enhancing substances and methods without any legitimate medical need, including EPO, blood transfusion paraphernalia, testosterone, insulin, DHEA, LH and corticosteroids to athletes under his care, and was complicit in other anti-doping rule violations.”

It said that the hearing featured detailed evidence, including eyewitness testimony, corroborating documentation plus an expert analysis of abnormal blood values of cyclists.

According to NOS, Leinders’ lawyer Kristof de Saedeleer raised some doubts about whether or not he would appeal. “Cycling is a closed chapter for Mr. Leinders,” he said. We have no further news about the case, [including] for example any appeal. We want to consult first with Leinders. We must talk about it.

“There is a lot to say about this legal decision. But it could also be, after consultation with Mr Leinders, that we leave it at that and do not appeal.”

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