Former Rabobank rider Michael Boogerd, a two-time stage winner in the Tour de France, has admitted to cheating by using banned performance-enhancing drugs for 10 years.
Boogerd, who finished fifth in the 1998 Tour, told Dutch state broadcaster NOS today he used erythropoietin, or EPO, blood transfusions and cortisone between 1997 and 2007.
The 40-year-old Dutchman, who retired in 2007 and has since become a cycling commentator for NOS, said he regularly visited the Humanplasma clinic in Vienna to receive blood transfusions. He bought EPO in the Netherlands.
Boogerd said he felt forced to use banned performance- enhancing substances because a lot of the other riders in the peloton seemed to be doing it and he “wanted to compete with the top guys.”
Although Boogerd is the seventh rider from the now disbanded Rabobank team to say he used banned substances to boost his performance, he said the team didn’t have a “doping culture.”
Denmark’s Michael Rasmussen, Germany’s Grischa Niermann and Dutchmen Danny Nelissen, Marc Lotz and Thomas Dekker have also admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Their confessions came after a report by the U.S. Anti- Doping Agency, or USADA, in October that described widespread cheating and said American rider Levi Leipheimer admitted doping when on the Rabobank team in 2003.
Former Rabobank team manager Theo de Rooij told Dutch media last year that doping was tolerated on the team.
Leipheimer is a former teammate of Lance Armstrong of the U.S., who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life for what USADA said in October was “serial cheating.”
The USADA report prompted Dutch mortgage lender Rabobank Groep to end 17-year sponsorship of cycling.
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