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by Shane Stokes
January 7, 2016
Photography by Cor Vos
Having admitted almost three years ago to a long period of doping during his career, Michael Boogerd has been sanctioned by the UCI and handed a two year suspension.
In March 2013 he told Dutch national broadcaster NOS that he had used EPO, cortisone and blood transfusions during the period 1997 to 2007.
“I’m sorry I kept the [doping] culture alive,” he said then. “I’m sorry I never put up my hand and publicly said: ‘This can’t go on. It’s not good.’ And I’m sorry I wasn’t riding in another era.
“I flew to Vienna for blood transfusions. I stored my own blood for later use.”
He spent his entire career as part of the Rabobank structure, although it was sponsored by WordPerfect when he made his pro debut in 1993.
Many others from the same team also admitted doping, including former team co-leader Michael Rasmussen.
In a statement published on the UCI’s website on Wednesday, the governing body confirmed that Boogerd would be sidelined.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces today that Michael Boogerd has been sanctioned with a two years’ ineligibility for the anti-doping rule violations he committed during his cycling career.
“The ban is effective until 21 December 2017.
“The case has been resolved via an acceptance of consequences as provided for by the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.”
It added that it would not comment any further.
Other reports suggested that the rider will lose his results from 2005 to 2007; while his period of admission dates back further than that, the statute of limitations may be a factor in this.
His results between 1997 and 2005 include victories in Paris-Nice, the Amstel Gold Race, the Setmana Catalana, Brabantse Pijl plus fifth overall in the Tour de France.
If those reports are true, it means he will retain all those results despite his admission.
Of more immediate consequence to Boogerd is his two year ban, which will end his time working as a directeur sportif for the Roompot – Oranje Peloton Pro Continental team.
Boogerd could have received a reduced ban had he provided details to anti-doping authorities. In 2013 he indicated he would not follow this course of action, saying ‘I’m not naming people…It was my responsibility, my choice.”
He repeated that in a statement issued Wednesday. “Because of my voluntary confession on March 6, 2013, I am bearing the responsibility and accept the consequences of decisions that I have taken in the past,” he indicated.
“I was always alone and am ready to tell my own story and not about other riders or coaches.”
Commenting on the matter, Roompot – Oranje Peloton said that it regretted the decision of the UCI’s disciplinary committee.
“As co-initiator of our project Michael was of great value in guiding young Dutch riders, so were able to make their dream come true,” said manager Michael Zijlaard.
“That remains the basic principle of our team.”
He added that Boogerd’s “negative past experiences” had been a motivation for the current riders to race clean, and that the team hoped to work with him again in the future.
In 2011 the UCI announced a new anti-doping measure, regulation 1.1.006.2, blocking those who had been given a ban of two years or more for doping from working in team roles.
However it said that this ban would not be backdated, meaning that only those who doped after July 1 2011 would be blocked.
Boogerd is therefore free to return to working in the sport after his ban ends in December of next year.