Cycling News and Analysis

News for January 1, 2000

Dutch stars come clean

The Dutch television documentary program, "Reporter" last night featured former professionals, Steven Rooks, Peter Winnen and Maarten Ducrot talking about the various illegal substances they used during their careers.

Peter Winnen, who came third in the Tour de France in 1983 (undoped) talked about his Tour de France in 1986. "I was very bad and had the choice: go back to home or to provide me with testosterone." - Winnen reached Paris. During his career with Raleigh, Panasonic and Buckler, Winnen used testosterone,amphetamines and corticosteroids.

Maarten Ducrot used cortisone and testosterone, as well as Synacthen, "a very bad medicine," and he still regrets using it. Ducrot said he experimented with synacthen in 1982 when he was an amateur.

Rooks said he used testosterone and amphetamines during his whole 13 year career. (minor detail: until December 31, 1999 Rooks was still working for TVM!). In addition, former mountain climbing colleague, Gert-Jan Theunisse who was banned for testosterone during his career denied any usage of testosterone in "Reporter".

Ducrot and Winnen said their team leaders Jan Raas and Peter Post knew about their doping use. However, both managers denied this, as well as Jan Gisbers (former teamleader of PDM and assistent with Axa in 2000). Post, teamleader of Raleigh and Panasonic: "I don't have words for this talk. How can riders put this sport in an evil light, while they made their money with this sport for all these years? I don't understand that!"

In the PDM team, doping use was systematic 11 years ago, a fact that only came to light late in 1997. In the "good PDM-year"(1988), Gert Jan Theunisse had bad luck: he was caught using drugs in the Tour de France. The doping controller, Van Rossum played a strange role in this affair, as he was supposed to have helped the team management to get round the doping controls.

Rooks, Winnen and Ducrot said they worked together with the makers of "Reporter" because doping use in the professional peloton is still rife. The maker of the documentary, Bernard Krikke, said he made this program to show how important the role is of team leaders and team doctors. Raleigh, PDM, Panasonic, Kwantum and Buckler were the teams with structured doping use, according to the TV show.

Krikke also gave his opinion about Erik Dekker's high hematocrit just before the World Championships in 1999: "This is the proof that the 'omerta' (the oath of secrecy) is still in the peloton." Winnen, Ducrot and Rooks have broken this omerta now.

Johnson out

As alluded to in yesterday's headlines (but not reported! I blame Y2K...), Tim Johnson, one of the USA's top prospects for the World cyclocross championships at the end of January has been forced to withdraw after breaking his collarbone.

According to Paul Boudreau, who maintains the Tim Johnson website, Tim was sprinting with friend Stephen Wiegold (4th place last year in Poprad, Slovakia) in the latest Superprestige race in Surhuisterveen. Tim lead out the sprint and beat Stephen. The road at the end of the finish turned left and while Tim turned with the road after the sprint, Stephen didn't, taking out Tim. Healing time is estimated at 6 weeks. To wish Tim a speedy recovery and a happy New Year, email him at: tjohnswah@hotmail.com.

Sörensen breaks collarbone

Rabobank veteran, Rolf Sörensen (34) has broken his collarbone during a training ride on his mountainbike in Denmark. He will travel to Holland in January to go to hospital. Sörensen will miss a part of the team's training camp in January in Italy before the new season starts.

Ullrich finds a new hobby

Jan Ullrich has had a hard time putting in the miles at home in Germany this winter, due to some fairly ordinary weather. However, in a committed effort to avoid putting on too much weight, he has tried an alternative sport - canoeing.

Together with former off-road star, Mike Kluge and Telekom's press spokesman, Matthias Schumann, Ullrich went for a paddle on Lake Berlin a couple of days ago. Ullrich wasn't immediately captured by the sport, and has decided to continue training on his velocipede, starting in Mallorca on January 10.

Happy New Year

The much hyped, but mostly harmless "Y2K" bug has fortunately not struck "cyclingnews", and the website appears not to have vanished into the ether on New Year's Day, Sydney time. What is also fortunate is that we did not have to resort to the use of heavy firearms, Arnold Schwarzenegger-style, to negotiate Sydney's New Year traffic (geen problem). We hope cyclingnews readers around the world have similar success.

The year in review was covered in our Christmas message, and we do hope you appreciated the little video clip of Sven Nijs. The response to it has been so far very positive, and there will be more to come, we promise!

Unfortunately, the drugs issue just won't go away and we continue to learn more about the illegal practices that have pervaded the peloton for years. Hopefully, the latest series of investigations and confessions will have some more effect on the education of riders, doctors, and directors of cycling teams. It is possible to compete successfully without drugs, and of course far better on a health basis. After all, when if a cyclist retires at 35 or so, they've still got many years of life left in which to achieve other things. Health is everything then.

Once again, all the best to everyone for the new whatever-you-want-to-call it (2000). Sit back, and enjoy the action.