Dutchman denies cheating despite revelations in his new autobiography
Former professional rider Lieuwe Westra, just days after it was revealed he faked injuries to receive therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for injections of cortisone before races, has revealed he paid another rider for first pro victory as well as using tramadol and caffeine pills as performance enhancers.
Tramadol, a controversial but legal painkiller, was used to help to push through the pain at the individual time trial in the 2016 Three Days of De Panne, Westra reveals in his new autobiography, The Beast.
600mg of legal caffeine pills were used to give him more energy in the Belgian stage race, which he won overall after finishing third in the individual time trial. The Dutchman retired at the start of 2017 at the age of 34, reportedly suffering with depression.
In an interview with De Volkskrant about his new book which was released on Tuesday, Westra also admitted to buying his first professional victory in 2009 at the Arno Wallaard Memorial race. He denied any kind of cheating or wrongdoing.
“People say: ‘why do you use tramadol? Why an inhaler? You do not have asthma anyway’,” Westra told De Volkskrant when asked about his TUE use.
“The answer is simple: because it is allowed and because you will perform better. And if I do not, someone else will. That’s what a cyclist thinks.”
Westra admitted late last week to faking injuries in order to receive TUEs to allow him to use cortisone in-competition during his time at Astana between 2014 and 2016.
Astana said on Sunday they were shocked about the revelations and could demand compensation.
“We’re shocked about the news and we want to make clear that at Astana Pro Team forbidden drugs are never and will never be provided to any rider,” the team said.
“In case that the use of prohibited drugs really took place, Astana Team reserves the right to demand financial compensation from the rider, since the use of doping is strictly prohibited by the internal regulations of the team, which is signed by each rider.”
Westra also said in the interview that he paid German sprinter Eric Baumann 1,000 Euros to ensure his first pro victory at the Arno Wallaard Memorial, allegedly on the advice of his Vacansoleil team-mate Aart Vierhouten.
“‘Make sure there is a victory behind your name Lieuwe, if necessary you pay for it because you can always earn it back from your contract negotiations’,” Westra said Vierhouten advised him.
“The time had come during the Arno Wallaard Memorial. I was away with a German sprinter Eric Baumann. I would lose anyway and risked it. ‘A thousand?’ I called. He nodded. It was that simple.”