Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Dietz says Telekom team doctors offered EPO
FRANKFURT, Germany -- A former teammate of Jan Ullrich
admitted using banned performance-enhancing drugs with the
assistance of two team doctors.
Bert Dietz, who rode for the Telekom team between 1994 and 1998,
said he was introduced to the use of the blood-boosting substance
EPO by the two doctors, Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich. The two
doctors, who have denied being involved in doping, recently were
suspended by the team.
Dietz spoke Monday in an interview on national television,
becoming the first rider on the team now known as T-Mobile to
acknowledge doping. He did not implicate other riders from the
team, but said they must have been aware of what was going on.
Dietz said the two doctors introduced EPO in 1995, explaining
the way it functions and the risks connected to taking it.
"If we wanted to ride at the top, we would likely have to take
it," Dietz said. "They offered it, but in such a form that
everyone knew: If I don't take it now, I'll probably have such bad
results at the end of the season that my contract would not be
extended. It was clear."
Dietz's admission follows revelations by former Telekom massage
therapist Jed d'Hont earlier this month. D'Hont said Schmid and
Heinrich supplied EPO to former Tour de France winners Ullrich and
Bjarne Riis and other riders.
D'Hont worked for the team from 1992-96. Riis won the 1996 Tour
and Ullrich finished second. Ullrich won the 1997 Tour. Ullrich,
who retired in February after being implicated in the Spanish
doping scandal, has denied ever taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Riis also has denied doping.