Michel Hessmann anti doping positive a ‘black day’ for Jumbo-Visma says boss

22-year-old German rider suspended by Dutch team in August after positive test revealed presence of diuretics

Michel Hessmann of Jumbo-Visma with a bloody knee
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Richard Plugge has said that the day Jumbo-Visma were notified of German rider Michel Hessman’s positive anti-doping test was a ‘black day’ for the team.

Hessmann was suspended by the Dutch squad in mid-August after an anti-doping test conducted in June came back positive. The test revealed the presence of diuretics in Hessman’s system.  Jumbo-Visma immediately made the 22-year-old inactive until further details were known.

In his latest column in Wielerflits’ Ride magazine, Plugge went into further detail about the day Jumbo received the news.

He said: “Wednesday, August 16, 2023 was a black day for our team. For the first time in ten years, we received the message that a rider from our team, Michel Hessmann, had a positive doping test. We had to look in the mirror ourselves, are we doing everything right?

“Everyone involved in and with our organisation must be aware of everything. Germany has a doping law, so the public prosecutor's office is automatically involved. Criminal law has the presumption of innocence, while disciplinary law reasons the other way around. It is up to the athlete to prove that he has done nothing wrong.

“If the test is carried out properly, there are two possibilities, either it is conscious, or it is contamination from a supplement or other medicine.”

Plugge also elaborated on the way in which the Dutch team work to avoid potential contamination in any products they use.

“It is mandatory within our team to only use supplements and medicines that have been batch checked for doping substances, to minimise the risk of contamination. Many products contain remnants of other products,” he added.

“In short, an athlete cannot simply take a supplement, drug or energy drink without knowing whether it has been tested beforehand. There can be a (in or out-of-competition) doping control 365 days a year, the athlete must be sharp every day.

"That is part of cycling policy. Riders (the multiple winners or leader jersey wearers) are checked between thirty and 150 times per year. That is good and should remain that way. We stand for fair sport in which talents cross swords on equal grounds.”

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tom Thewlis

Tom has been writing for Cycling Weekly since 2022 and his news stories, rider interviews and features appear both online and in the magazine. 

Since joining the team, he has reported from some of professional cycling's biggest races and events including the Tour de France and the World Championships in Glasgow. He has also covered races elsewhere across the world. 

As well as on the ground reporting, Tom writes race reports from the men's and women's WorldTour and helps with coverage of UK domestic cycling.