BRIGNOLES, July 5, 2009 (AFP) – Rabobank team boss Erik Breukink confirmed at the Tour de France on Sunday that star rider Denis Menchov recently gave evidence to Austrian police investigating a suspected blood doping.
During last month’s Tour of Italy Menchov was handed a summons by Austrian police who are investigating a Vienna laboratory, Humanplasma, suspected of being at the heart of a blood doping ring.
Suspended Austrian cyclist Bernhard Kohl, who announced his retirement in May, reportedly told prosecutors he received blood transplants at Humanplasma.
Menchov is believed to have travelled to Austria to speak to investigators two weeks ago.
Breukink said on Sunday, however, that both Menchov and his team had nothing to hide.
“We told investigators we would collaborate with them from the start,” said Breukink.
“We have given them access to any riders they want to speak to. But for us, there’s nothing to raise any kind of suspicion for us.”
On his way to victory in last month’s Tour of Italy, Tour de France overall contender Menchov said: “This is not new.”
“We spoke about this last year and I explained myself. I have nothing to do with this.”
Investigators in April found a centrifuge, used for blood-doping, at the Budapest flat of the Tour de France third’s former manager Stefan Matschiner.
Kohl apparently told investigators that he and nordic skiing Olympic gold-medalist Christian Hoffman and Danish cyclist and former Rabobank rider Michael Rasmussen had paid for the equipment.
Austria embarked on a major anti-doping clean-up in March with a series of arrests, including that of former Austrian nordic skiing coach Walter Mayer, cyclist Christof Kerschbaum, and a Vienna pharmacist believed to have supplied both with banned substances.