2004 winner Pat Jonker gets the adulation of the crowd
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Former U.S. Postal rider warns “it wasn’t every single rider in the team”
Former U.S. Postal rider Patrick Jonker claims he never saw doping practices in his time with the besieged team.
Speaking with the ABC’s News24 channel on Sunday, the Dutch-born retired Australian cyclist also denied engaging in the practices for which USADA handed down a damning report this week to the UCI and WADA.
“I’ve never doped and it never crossed my mind,” the 43-year-old explained.
Jonker joins former teammate Julian Dean in his recollection of his time with the American team, but warned that for those who have done the wrong thing “there’s no place to hide” as more information comes to hand.
“I think if somebody has done the wrong thing in the past that it will come up in the following few days or weeks but also, there are a lot of riders like myself and Julian Dean who spoke out last night that never did the wrong thing and always did the right thing and raced cleanly… We’d like to get the message across that it wasn’t every single rider in the team.”
The former overall winner of the Tour Down Under and Route de Sud has been a strong, unapologetic supporter of Armstrong although Jonker now concedes that the evidence does appear to be stacked against his former teammate.
“During that period of time it’s not just the one person, it was the [anti-doping] system that was in place… it wasn’t working very well,” Jonker said. “It wasn’t just one bad person; I think Lance is more hated than murderers… it’s the system; the world they were living in at one particular time.”
Jonker argues that no winner should ever be declared for the Tour de France for the era now in question but says that recent winners such as Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins are proof that the sport has progressed from its questionable era.
“We can say that cycling at the Tour de France level is now clean,” Jonker stated. “Cadel Evans is a great example of how it is possible to win a Tour de France on bread and water, and also Bradley Wiggins. Why we can say that is because what they do today [anti-doping practices] is
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