Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere has announced he will start legal action against Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws after they accused him of doping.
Speaking in a press conference on Friday afternoon in Kortrijk, Lefevere denied all the accusations made by the newspaper and said he would sue the newspaper, the editor and the investigative journalist Maarten Michielssens who wrote the articles. Lefevere also confirmed announced that he will begin legal action against Belgian senator and anti-doping campaigner Jean-Marie Dedecker.
At the start of the week Het Laatste Nieuws caused a scandal in Belgian cycling by claiming Lefevere had been involved in doping for 30 years. Based on evidence supplied by two named witnesses and six unnamed sources, the newspaper claimed he took amphetamines when he raced as a professional in the seventies and then knew about and controlled doping in the teams he later managed, including the current Quick Step team. The newspaper also printed allegations from an unidentified rider currently riding in the team who claimed that social drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy was also used by riders.
Lefevere admitted to taking amphetamines but flatly denied that doping went on in his teams and he was involved.
“They’ve attacked us in a cruel and vile way. I say ‘we’ because I’m not only a man but also a husband, a father and the manager of an important team like Quick Step Innergetic, president of the teams association, responsibile or the IPCT, a memeber of the UCI anti-doping commission and a councillor of the ProTour council,” Lefevere said.
“The accusations are based on something that happened thirty years ago, the use of amphetamines and I’ve already admitted it. They’ve talked about disintoxication and cheating but I’ve never been guilty of any of these. I promise 50,000 Euro to whoever can find the centre where I was supposed to have stayed because it doesn?t exist.”
“I read about the anonymous and vague accusations of organised doping but they?re contradicted by the fact that Johan Museeuw had to go to a vet to get banned substances and not to our team doctor! I?ve never made Museeuw stay quiet, that?s a total lie.”
“The riders have denied the accusation in the paper. Journalists from the paper have sent me text messages but my image has been ruined without me having a chance to reply. Now it?s up to my lawyers but I?m going to end what I have to say with a question: The journalist who wrote what is totally false, will he get a prize from his editor for increasing sales or will he be fired? Now my job is to keep the team motivated. Fortunately the racing starts soon ?
The action against Dedecker will be taken by Lefevere?s management company Eseranza that owns the Quick Step, the ProTour teams commercial association, the IPCT, and by Tom Boonen?s management company Celio.