Project 1t4i Defend Their Riders

Last updated : 30 January 2012 By Kev Monks

Marcel Kittel no suspect in investigation into German doctor

Project 1t4i have issued the following statement following the broadcasting of a programme in which riders of the team visited a doctor who is under investigation. 

Their statement is as follows: "As a cycling team, we attach great value to integrity and transparency. These principles are rooted in the core values of our cycling team to which the management, employees and cyclists have submitted and according to which they act. Because of this transparency and integrity, we can announce the following as a response to the broadcast of Sportschau, the German sports television program of the ARD, of January 29 2012.

In this broadcast, the name of cyclist Marcel Kittel was mentioned in an investigation into Dr. Andreas Franke, who worked for the Olympic point of support in Erfurt that is supported by the German government and is financed by public means. This point of support is the official contact point for various sportsmen from various sport disciplines from this region. For Marcel Kittel, this doctor was also his official contact point in case of health problems. Furthermore, the management of Project 1t4i can report that two other cyclists of the team, Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb have also had contact with this doctor in the past. 

The team has not heard from the German Public Prosecutor that investigates Dr. Franke, nor from the German anti-doping agency in Bonn, nor from the international world anti-doping agency WADA. The team was also not approached by the German television network ARD.

The facts
The following facts are known to the team. As an 18-year-old sportsman from the region of Erfort and therefore part of this Olympic point of support, Marcel Kittel should contact the doctor concerned in case of illness. In 2007 and 2008, Marcel visited this doctor when he was ill. The doctor decided to treat him with the UV-treatment mentioned in the program of Sportschau. Project 1t4i cyclists John Degenkolb and Patrick Gretsch were also part of this point of support and visited this doctor in case of illness. Patrick Gretsch also received the UV-treatment from Dr. Franke. John Degenkolb has never received this treatment. Marcel Kittel, Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb have never had to pay any financial compensation to this point of support or the aforementioned doctor. 

Marcel Kittel and Patrick Gretsch have received this treatment when they were young. Ever since they have been active for Project 1t4i, and its predecessor Skil-Shimano, they have been treated by the medical staff of the team completely and have not undergone this treatment since respectively 2008 and 2010. In January 2011, the world anti-doping agency WADA changed the anti-doping codex and all treatments with blood were prohibited. The facts concerning Marcel Kittel and Patrick Gretsch have all occurred before January 2011.

The UV-treatment concerned does not improve performance, according to various experts. It is a method that is mainly used in Eastern Europe with patients to increase their resistance to infection.
Dr. Franke applied the following method for the mentioned syndrome. He took a very small amount (a few cc) of blood from the body via a syringe and put this under UV lighting immediately to fight the infection in the blood. This blood was subsequently reinserted into the body. The entire treatment did not take more than a few minutes. It did not involve an infusion or transfusion.

Scientists doubt the effectiveness of this  method, nevertheless, the treatment is customary in Eastern Europe and is also performed on non-athletes who suffer from an infectious disease. In 2007 and 2008, Marcel Kittel received this treatment from dr. Franke when he suffered from an infection. Patrick Gretsch has received the same treatment when he also suffered from an infection.

The team has contacted the UCI and the Dutch doping authorities and can allow its cyclists to start in the coming races. Marcel Kittel and Patrick Gretsch are not suspected of violation of the anti-doping regulation. They are also not suspects in the investigation. They will offer all cooperation to the NADA, WADA or the Department of Justice in the investigation into this doctor of the Olympic point of support where they expected to be in good hands.

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