Tour de France 2020

Omega Pharma distances itself from former rider caught in doping scandal

Former Silence-Lotto rider Wim Vansevenant has acknowledged that a package seized by customs officials two weeks ago contained doping products destined for him.

Former Silence-Lotto rider Wim Vansevenant has acknowledged that a package seized by Belgian customs officials two weeks ago contained doping products destined for him.

Wim Vansevenant holding his record-breaking lanterne rouge in 2008.

A public prosecutor in Ghent acknowledged that his office was conducting an investigation, but declined further comment.

Now retired, Vansevenant has played a small support role on the Omega Pharma-Lotto team in recent years. While acknowledging that the package was indeed his, Vansevenant denied that the drugs were going to be used for active riders on the team.

“It was only a small amount, to improve my own condition,” said Vansevenant. “It was the second time I ordered. The order was not for the Omega Pharma-Lotto team. ”

According to the Belgian newspaper De Standaard the package contained several thousand Euros worth of “ultra-modern doping products.” Vansevenant told Belgium’s DeMorgen.be that the substance was TB-500, a synthetic peptide designed to promote muscle growth, which he said he used to maintain fitness since his retirement in 2008.

Vansevenant, who had been slated to serve as a driver for the team’s VIP guests at the upcoming Tour, has the distinction of earning the Tour’s lanterne rouge for three successive years, the record.

On Thursday morning Omega Pharma team director Geert Coeman said that the team had nothing to do with Vansevenant’s purchase.

“This is bad news, especially just a few days before the Tour, even though our connection with the man is pretty limited,” Coeman said. “Vansevenant was going to spend a week at the Tour driving our VIP bus. Obviously, that isn’t going to happen now.

“We have a good reputation as a team and we want to protect that. I hope, for his sake, this is a minor controversy, but even if he is completely cleared we won’t be using him at the Tour.”