News for December 8, 1997

Dutch Drug Scandal - Part 15

100s of doctors prepared to give drugs

Despite their professional code prohibiting it, there are 280 Dutch doctors who are prepared to give their patients forbidden drugs. That revelation has come from research by the Netherlands Centre for Doping Affairs (NeCeDo) in Rotterdam [Bill: how was that Frans!]

NeCeDo say that the Geleen-based ex-PDM team doctor Wim Sanders, who last week was exposed as being a central figure in a doping scandal, was not alone in the doping world. From a survey, it is known that of the 7000 Dutch GPs there are 70 who have provided their patients with prescriptions for banned substances. Meanwhile, 210 of their colleagues have considered prescribing the substances. According to NeCeDo this group would supply if the patients insisted. NeCeDo Director E. Vrijman said: "In total this is not more than 4 per cent of the doctors. But each doctor who supplies drugs is one too many, and the investigation of Sanders in Limburg shows how wide a network can develop around just one individual doctor."

According to the policy of the Royal Dutch Society for Promotion of Medicine (Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij tot Bevordering der Geneeskunst - KNMG) most doctors do not prescribe banned substances. According to the rules doctors have to advise against the use of such substances.

The investigation has also revealed that the GPs scarcely know what they are working with and need to be brought up to date on the various drug products available.

And second, the NeCeDo investigation of the drugs market, reveals that the drugs trade is not only in the hands of the doctors, the chemists and the carers, but also in the hands of the drugs mafia. At the same time there are indications that the pharmaceutical industry is knowlingly involved.

The investigation, which ended this month represented a major unmasking of the Dutch as a country of drugs. Dutch sportspersons score disproportionately highly at drug tests - within and outside of the Netherlands. Tests in 1996 caught 6 per cent of the Dutch sportsperson with positive readings. International experiences reveals a norm of under half a percent. According to the investigators the drugs market is more extensive than first thought. In 1984, the trade was around 80 to 100 million guilders. "Now it is double", said Vrijman.

The investigation has shown NeCeDo that the trade in banned substances for sport is closely related to the trade in cocaine, heroine of xtc. They come together at the sports schools but also in the "smartdrugs" world. The NeCeDo are concerned that the Dutch medical legislation does not impose high enough penalties. The highest penalty for the illegal import of medicine is only 6 months.

"There is a rotten mess in the drugs market".

Doping is widely available in the top sporting circles as well as the fitness and sport's school circuit, that are used by more than 1.2 million people. Accodog to NeCeDo there are 100,000 Dutch people between the age of 16-35 years who buy forbidden drugs to a value of around 200 million. The drugs are illegally imported or semi-legally obtained via chemists and doctors. Products from many countries, sold under the counter, are rarely in sterile packets. Investigators from NeCeDo found bacteria in some of the packets.

According to Vrijman there is "a rotten mess in the market." The Netherlands appears to be leading the way in fraudulent medicines and the criminal element is dealing in these drugs. "We know of cases where sportspersons are injecting themselves with olive-oil"

Not all the supply is being dealt through illegal shops in the underworld. There are indications that the pharmaceutical industry knows more than it is saying, says Vrijman. He related the story of a conversation around the time of the 1990 World Cycling Championships in Japan with the doctor from the American EPO producer Amgen. The doctor whispered (intimated) that the Belgians were using EPO. Vrijman: "His colleague from the Belgian division of Amgen, who enlightened him about it". In the race, held in tropical conditions, two Belgian bike riders rode away from the peloton. Rudy Dhaenens (tnen PDM) won, his countryman Dirk De Wolf (also PDM) was second.

After Japan, Dhaenens did not win a single kermesse race, and then he stopped with heart troubles. International evidence suggests that heart troubles like this are associated with EPO use.

How great the misuse of the popular EPO among top sporspersons is not clear from the research of the NeCeDo. The pharmaceutical industry holds the turnover figures of EPO supply. Janssen-Cilag BV in Tilburg, which produces Eprex, the only EPO substance on the Dutch market, refuses to disclose any information.

From numbers issued by the National Health Insurance Agency suggest that Eprex is a favoured substance. Between 1990 and 1996 they worked on decomposing the legal turnover via chemists in the Netherlands. This turnover was around 5.5 million guilders in 1996. Eprex is especially prescribed for kidney patients and has to be issued upon a specialist's prescription and authorised by the sickness benefits insurance.

The National Health Insurance Agency does not in reality know how great the Eprex turnover is. A Dutch sportsperson can buy it at a chemist in Belgium with a prescription from his GP. The estimate is that one Eprex ampule costs around 40-300 guilders.

According to Vrijman the revelations of the network surrounding the Geleen doctor Wim Sanders by the Tax Office (FIOD) was the first blow. "Up until now there have been small incidents. Now we know of the complete network, the whole structure, and that is more than we expected." The network that Sanders built up, which has now been exposed in the last weeks will not survive. But there are other doctors, chemists and sport's teams that will continue to supply and use banned substances. Clearly, there is also the EPO market in Belgium and the investigation has implicated the underworld and the murdered drugs doctor from Limburg, Danny Leclere.

The World Championship still on in October

The President of the ICU, Hein Verbruggen, has received in Lausanne a delegation of racers, led notably by Bugno and Fondriest, on the subject of the date of the World Championship, planned for October, which the riders judge as being too late. Many riders would like to see the race World Championship held again at end August-beginning September. However, the ICU has announced that contracts with national federations and organisers have already been made, ensuring that the World Championship will be held in October at least until the year 2000. This is also the year in which France will hold the World Championship at Plouay (Morbihan region).

Ullrich in the classics

Jan Ullrich, the winner of the tour de France, has already decided part of his 1998 program : Milan-San Remo and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Jan Ullrich is with Deutsch Telekom until 2001, the date that the sponsor has fixed for its presence in cycling.

French Telethon

Two riders have donated material to the annual French Fundraising Telethon for handicapped children. Richard Virenque is offering his "maillot a pois" to an associaton which is organising an auction (from 6 december 10am-12am and 2pm to 4 pm until 12 December - tel 00 33 02 37 81 00 33). Luc Leblanc is offering his world championship bike to a local cycling club which will auction the bike on Sat 6 December at the Town Hall of Pertuis (Vaucluse region). All money raised from these auctions goes to the Telethon. Also in the name of the Telethon, the record of 24 hours around a Velodrome is being attempted by a police officer from the president's palace.

US National Cyclo Cross Championships 1997, Bear Creek Lake State Park, Lakewood, Colorado

It was a day for first-time winners at the 1997 U.S. Cyclo- cross National Championships as Mark McCormack (Saturn), North Easton, Mass., and Alison Dunlap (Team GT), Colorado Springs, Colo., each took home their first senior national cycling championships.

A total of 11 national championship titles were awarded on the course, located at Bear Creek Lake State Park in western Denver, near legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre, varied throughout the day. As action began at 9 a.m., the course was frozen and rock hard, but by the time the senior events started after lunch time, the course had thawed.

"There was a lot of mud out there," Mark McCormack said, in a mighty understatement.

The senior menís race looked to be a brother affair as defending champion Frank McCormack (Saturn), Leicester, Mass., and his brother Mark, quickly moved to their familiar positions at the front of the field, and proceeded to control the race. They switched roles periodically - one leading, the other marking attacks from other riders, especially Dale Knapp (Redline), Tacoma, Wash., who hung with the New England duo until the very end.

"Frank did a lot to help me at the end there," said Mark McCormack. "I was shocked he was able to ride so strong considering he just came up from sea level yesterday."

Coloradoís high altitude, combined with the soupy conditions, challenged the menís field of more than 120 riders. Mark McCormack prepared by training at altitude for three weeks prior to Saturdayís race.

"After three second places, itís great to finally win," he said.

In front of a slew of hometown fans and family, Dunlap, 28, ended a decade- long quest for a senior national title. A former road racer turned pro mountain biker, Dunlap has a string of accomplishments to her credit -- a berth on the 1996 Olympic road team, a stage win at the womenís Tour de France and a World Cup mountain bike victory, but until Saturday she had never won a stars and stripes jersey. She blitzed the senior womenís field, winning by 55 seconds over Miranda Briggs (Thompson-Cannondale-QualMed), Ashland, Ore.

"I canít wait to get that jersey," Dunlap said, after removing a coating of mud from her face.

The Denver native quickly gained a 10-second lead over Briggs and national mountain bike cross-country champion Ruthie Matthes (PowerBar), Durango, Colo.

"I opened a gap and I decided to go with it, especially with Ruthie chasing," Dunlap said.

Switching between Ďcross bikes each lap, Dunlap used her power on the asphalt combined with technical ability and strong running on the uphill portions to expand her lead to 1:10 by the third lap as Matthes -- in only her fourth cyclo-cross race ever -- crashed and was caught by Briggs. Dunlap continued to press the margin, fearing a problem on the final lap as she neared her first title.

"On the last lap, I just wanted to keep the bike upright," she said. "You could crash and potato chip your front wheel and that minute and a half lead would be gone."

Cyclo-cross, the fastest-growing discipline in U.S. cycling, is a mixture of hybrid of road racing, mountain biking and steeplechase as riders are required to negotiate a course which includes barriers which force rider to dismount and hurdle before remounting.

Jonathan Page (Diamondback), Leicester, Mass., repeated as menís under-23 champion, after a tough duel with semi-pro mountain bike racer Damon Kluck (Bontrager), Santa Cruz, Calif. Page and Kluck broke away from the field early, putting 50 seconds on a chase group led by Tim Johnson (CCB International), Middleton, Mass. Page dropped Kluck on the fourth lap, and cruised to a winning time of 49:24, 42 seconds faster than Kluck. Todd Wells (Specialized-Mt. Dew), Ulster Park, N.Y., came on strong in the end to finish third, more than two minute back.

Cori Book (Vitesse-Hot Tubes), Cambridge, Minn., won the first womenís under-23 title, comfortably beating local Sara Larson of Lakewood.

The Redline powerhouse from Seattle won two of three titles in the masters division as Katie Blincoe, Mercer Island, Wash., won the womenís 35+ title and Dan Norton, Seattle, Wash., won the menís 45+ title. Blincoe overcame major mechanical problems for her win, the first national title of her career.

"I ran almost the whole second lap because my dereilleur froze and I couldnít shift," Blincoe said.

Due to the mechanical problems, Blincoe and Nancy Reynolds (RVT-Blue Pig), Boulder, Colo., kept switching the lead, until Reynolds ran into mechanical problems of her own on the fourth lap when her front wheel jammed up due to the increasing mud.

"I felt confident I was faster in the technical sections, but I biffed it a couple of times on the ice," Blincoe said.

Norton blitzed the menís 45+ field on the way to his fourth consecutive title. By the third lap of his 45-minute race, he led by an overwhelming 2:30.

"Weíre used to the Seattle mud, not this frozen hard mud," Norton said. "I crashed a whole bunch of times."

The trickiest part of the course was a series of up-hill running sections on the western half of the circuit which were matched by more precarious off- camber descents. The morning sun thawed the ice, replacing it with an even trickier mudfest.

In the menís 35+ masterís race, Gunner Shogren (Diamondback), Morgantown, W.Va., led early, but crashed in the final lap, dislocating his left shoulder. Thomas Hayles (Schwab Cycles), Aspen, Colo., surged ahead for the win, while Shogren regrouped and went on to finish second, 30 seconds back.

Danny Pate (Nutra Fig), Pueblo, Colo., won the junior menís national championship, beating Joshua Thornton (unattached), Colorado Springs, Colo., by just 10 seconds.

"There was one steep section where I was making up a lot of ground," said Pate, who rode for the U.S. at World Mountain Bike Championships in Switzerland in September.

Courtney Hagg (Velocity-Whataburger), Colorado Springs, Colo., dominated the junior womenís race, beating second-place Alicia Genest (NECSA-Sachs), Jamestown, R.I., by more than four minutes. Racing early in the day, junior racers faced snow and ice, instead of the mud encountered later in the day. Early race temperatures were in the 20s.

"I couldnít feel my feet the whole time," said Hagg. "I fell about five times."

Adam Myerson (Univ. of Massachusetts-Amherst), Northampton, Mass., claimed his first national title, winning the National Collegiate Cycling Association menís title in the tightest race of the day. Myerson edged Tim Johnson (Lindsey Wilson College), Middleton, Mass., in the final sprint, as Myersonís Ďcross bike proved superior to Johnsonís mountain bike.

"When it came to the line, Iím a road sprinter," Myerson said.

Myerson, who has European cyclo-cross experience, had the best technique on the still frozen morning course.

"Once the dusting of snow was gone, I was taking a different fall line than the others," he said. "I was just careening down. It was all body English."

Anne Tysso (Univ. of Colorado), Boulder, Colo., won her first U.S. title in the womenís NCCA event, besting CU teammate Lara Kroepsch over the final two laps. Tysso, a Norwegian-born member of the CU ski team, recently placed third at the NCCA mountain bike championships.

Senior Men, 60 mins

1. MARK MCCORMACK (Saturn), N. Easton, Mass., 58 minutes, 43 seconds; 2. Frank
McCormack (Saturn), Leicester, Mass., at :02 back; 3. Dale Knapp (Redline),
Tacoma, Wash., @ :09; 4. Mark Howe (Polo Sport), Boulder, Colo., @ 1:00; 5.
Peter Webber (Gary Fisher), Boulder, Colo., @ 1:48; 6. Marc Gullickson (GT),
Durango, Colo., @ 2:00; 7. Travis Brown (Trek/Volkswagen), Boulder, Colo., @
2:19; 8. Jimi Killen (Diamondback), Ft. Collins, Colo., @ 2:34; 9. Andy Bishop
(Gary Fisher), Williston, Vt., @ 2:39; 10. David Wiens (Kona), Gunnison,
Colo., @ 2:55.

Senior Women, 45 mins

1. ALISON DUNLAP (Team GT), Colorado Springs, Colo.; 2. Miranda Briggs
(Thompson-Cannondale-QualMed), Ashland, Ore.; 3. Ruth Matthes (PowerBar),
Durango, Colo.; 4. Cheryl Moores (Clif Bar), Boulder, Colo.; 5. Ann Grande
(Redline), Seattle, Wash.; 6. Wanda Howlett (Athens), Kent, Wash.; 7. Ann
Trombley (unattached), Golden, Colo.

Under-23 Men, 45 mins

1. JONATHAN PAGE (Diamondback), Leicester, Mass., 49 minutes, 24 seconds; 2.
Damon Kluck (Bontrager), Santa Cruz, Calif., @ :42; 3. Todd Wells (Mt.
Dew/Specialized), Ulster Park, N.Y., @ 2:07; 4. Tim Johnson (CCB
International), Middleton, Mass., @ 2:14; 5. Joshua Thornton, Colorado
Springs, Colo., @ 3:12; 6. Johannes Huseby (Independent Fabrication),
Northampton, Mass., @ 4:27; 7. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Team Devo), Denver,
Colo., @ 5:04; 8. Jon Tarkington (Colorado Velo), Boulder, Colo., @ 5:33; 9.
Jed Sheckler (CBC/Burrito Heaven), Olympia, Wash., @ 6:02; 10. Adam Krause
(Saturn/Redline), Seattle, Wash., @ 7:34.

Under-23 Women, 45 mins

1. CORI BOOK (Hot Tubes-Vitesse), Cambridge, Minn.; 2. Sara Larson
(unattached), Lakewood, Colo.

Masters Men 35+, 45 mins

1. THOMAS HAYLES (Schwab Cycles-ZB), Aspen, Colo.; 2. Gunnar Shogren
(DiamondBack), Morgantown, W.Va.; 3. Michael Wilson (Labor Power), Corvallis,
Ore.; 4. Jim Gentes (unattached), Soquel, Calif.; 5. Timothy Rutledge
(Redline), Seattle, Wash.; 6. John Seibert (Denver Spoke), Louisville, Colo.;
7. Tom Stevens (Fat Dog Racing), Concord, Mass.; 8. Stuart Thorne (Essex
County Velo), South Hamilton, Mass.; 9. Frank Hibbitts (Trails Edge), Colorado
Springs, Colo.; 10. Pat Zellar (Schwab Cycles), Golden, Colo.

Masters Men 45+, 45 mins

1. DAN NORTON (Redline), Seattle; 2. Darrell Vreugdenhil (Mainline),
Havertown, Pa.; 3. Jim Faes (Wheat Ridge Cyclery-Trek), Wheat Ridge, Colo.; 4.
Michael Meyer (unattached), Englewood, Colo.; 5. Richard Wall (unattached),
Colorado Springs, Colo.; 6. Lewis Patterson (Boulder Chaos), Boulder, Colo.;
7. Joseph Royer (Outdoors Inc Memphis), Memphis, Tenn.; 8. Tim Downing
(unattached), Boulder, Colo.; 9. Robert Gulley (unattached), Boulder, Colo.;
10. David Genest (NECSA-Richard Sachs), Jamestown, R.I.

Masters Women 35+, 45 mins

1. KATIE BLINCOE (Redline), Mercer Island, Wash.; 2. Nancy Reynolds (RVT-Blue
Pig), Boulder, Colo.; 3. Andrea Makie (unattached), Denver, Colo.; 4. Camille
Moitozo-Lamm (Wheelsmith), Campbell, Calif.; 5. Julie Sueker (RVT-Blue Pig),
Arvada, Colo.; 6. Margaret Thompson (Mohawk Valley), New Hartford, N.Y.; 7.
Nancy Kaymen (Team Mack), Lake Bluff, Ill.; 8. Amy Dykema (Team Mack),
Evanston, Ill.

Junior Men, 40 mins

1. DANNY PATE (Nutra Fig), Pueblo, Colo., 30 minutes, 33 seconds; 2. Joshua
Thornton, Colorado Springs, Colo., @ 10:14; 3. Matt Kelly (Trek), Colorado
Springs, Colo., @ 12:40;  4. Narayan Mahon (Redline), Port Townsend, Wash., @
12:43; 5. Andrew Wilkes (Hot Tubes), Colorado Springs, Colo., @ 13:17; 6.
Justin Spinelli (Nesca), Nashua, N.H., @ 14:59; 7. Will Frischkorn (G.S.
Mengoni), Colorado Springs, Colo., @ 15:26; 8. Joseph Alachoyan (Nesca),
Amherst, Mass., @ 15:27; 9. Brian Mohrlant (Team JRA/Rie St. Bike), Amherst,
Mass., @ 15:27; 10. Ryan Miller (GS Mengoni), Colorado Springs, Colo., @

Junior Women, 40 mins

1. COURTNEY HAGG (Velocity/Whataburger), Colorado Springs, Colo., 48 minutes,
27 seconds; 2. Alicia Genest (NESCA/Sachs), Jamestown, R.I., at 4:07 back; 3.
Jamie Kruse (Jane Cosmetica), Pueblo West, Colo., @ 7:55. 

Collegiate (NCCA) Men, 45 mins

1. ADAM MYERSON (Uni of Massachusetts-Amherst), Northampton, Mass.; 2. Tim
Johnson (Lindsey Wilson College), Middleton, Mass.; 3. Micah Thompson (Univ.
of Colorado), Boulder, Colo.; 4. Mike West (Univ. of Colorado), Boulder; 5.
Jon Tarkington (Univ. of Colorado), Boulder; 6. Alex Candelario (Univ. of
Colorado), Boulder; 7. Brian Hludzinski (Univ. of Colorado), Boulder; 8. Mike
Dempsey (Univ. of Nevada-Reno), Reno, Nev.; 9. Chris Lattimer (Univ. of
Colorado), Boulder; 10. Thomas Danielson (Fort Lewis College), Durango, Colo.

Collegiate (NCCA) Women, 45 mins

1. ANNE TYSSO (Uni of Colorado), Boulder; 2. Lara Kroepsch (Univ. of
Colorado), Boulder; 3. Emily Dorbos (Fort Lewis College), Durango; 4. Anne
Gallagher (Univ. of Colorado), Boulder; 5. Rachael Mirvish (Univ. of
Colorado), Boulder.