Union Cycliste Internationale has issued a lifetime ban against Geert Leinders, the former doctor for Team Sky, according to a Thursday announcement from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Leinders, who worked for Team Sky on a freelance basis between 2011 and 2012, is said to have violated multiple doping rules between 1996 and 2009 while he was chief team doctor and a director for the Rabobank cycling team.
USADA opened an investigation into Leinders’ work with Rabobank beginning in 2012, following an admission of doping by Michael Rasmussen, a Danish rider for the team, according to the Guardian. Rasmussen has cooperated with USADA, which coordinated its investigation with equivalent governing bodies in Denmark and Holland. USADA ultimately brought its case to the American Arbitration Association.
On Friday, the panel of arbitrators finalized its decision.
“USADA has sustained its burden of proving to the Panel’s comfortable satisfaction that Dr. Leinders committed the following doping offenses on or after June 22, 2004,” the arbitrators wrote. “The Panel imposes a lifetime period of ineligibility, commencing on the date of this Award.”
“After a hearing at which the detailed evidence … was presented, the independent Arbitration Panel found that Leinders possessed, trafficked, and administered banned performance enhancing substances and methods without any legitimate medical need,” according to the USADA statement.
In recent years, Team Sky had sought out team doctors unconnected to cycling in hopes that they would have no connection to the sport’s nefarious corners, according to the Guardian. Sir Dave Brailsford, the team principal for Team Sky, is said to have made an exception for Leinders out of a need for a doctor who had experience working with a professional team. He now regrets his decision.
“I made an error of judgment, quite frankly,” Brailsford told the Guardian. “When someone looks you in the eye and lies to you … I’m pretty angry about it.”