Systematic Doping at Quick Step?
It will be depressing if Quick Step is added to the list of other illustrious teams such as Festina, Kelme, Liberty Seguros, and Telekom.
Doctors supplied cortisone, growth hormones and EPO
Patrik Sinkewitz confessed to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in November 2007 about systematic doing on his former team Quick Step, according to Radsport-News. Sinkewitz described how Quick Step doctors would inject him with cortisone prior to important races and that the doctors also supplied him with growth hormones and EPO.
"They took regular blood samples to measure my hematocrit and fit the EPO doses to the respective values," said Sinkewitz.
Sinkewitz also spoke of a secret training camp in Andalusia in May 2004 where Quick Step's medical team had established a doping program. "Depending on their objectives, I knew that I had to take substances," said Sinkewitz.
Sinkewitz was a member of Quick Step from 2003 to 2005.
David Howman, WADA's director general, told the television program Frontal-21 that Sinkewitz's statement was forwarded to the Union Cycliste International (UCI) last week and that he had no explanation for the delay. Howman called Sinkewitz's statements "very detailed and helpful."
It is unclear what effect this will have on Quick Step's participation in the Tour de France starting Saturday in Monaco. "I can say nothing, because I know nothing of it. If there is something to explain there, we will issue a press release," said UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani.
Sinkewitz tested positive for testosterone before the 2007 Tour de France, and since he cooperated with authorities, received only a one-year ban, which ended July 17, 2008. The German resumed racing this year with the Czech PSK Whirlpool-Author team.
At first I was wondering whether or not the ASO might use these allegations as a reason to try and exclude the entire Quick Step team from the Tour de France this year, rather than just Tom Boonen. That would be extreme, but the same has been said of Astana's exclusion last year. However, I doubt the ASO would go that far, because:
1) Quick Step hasn't had any stars (that I can recall) receive UCI sanctions for failing drug tests as Vinokourov and Kashekin did.
2) At this point it is just an allegation and an official investigation has not been opened... yet.
3) Sinkewitz had left the team in 2005.