In the past decade, only a handful of dutch cyclists tested positive. Nothing was disclosed about Jordi van Loon’s doping offense. It was still unknown as to where he turned in a positive test and which product he was caught in 2018. The dutch cyclist breaks the silence in front of Cycling kOpinions and tells how he tested positive despite he had an TUE form, but especially how he says as a ‘small’ athlete you don’t have the chance to demonstrate if you are innocence.
Jordi van Loon slowly relaized that his cycling career is over. However, he cannot just leave the past alone. He continues to persist in his innocence and is extremely frustrated that he never got a fair chance to defend himself against his positive doping test on August 19th 2018 after the dutch cycling race Ronde van de Achterhoek. For the first time, the 24-year – old cyclist wants to tell his story.
All the facts are neatly written in five notebooks, while the same number of file folders are neatly arranged in front of him. The positive doping test of Jordi van Loon has not let go over a year and a half. ,,I am disappointed that I cannot prove my innocence because of a lack of financial resources and no cooperation from the Doping authorities at all. That’s why I would like tot tell my story now. I understand that my cycling career is over. I only tell my story so that everyone can see and understand that as a ‘small’ athlete you have’nt the chance of defending yourself after a positive doping test.
At the age of sixteen, his parents noticed that Jordi is lagging behind in his physical development towards his peers. When he becomes increasingly lethargix, the decided to have him examined at the end of 2017 by a Belgian sports doctor from Herentals in Belgium. Studies shows that Jordi has too low of testosterone, after which he Is sent to an endocrinologist. This doctor examines and guides patients with complex hormone disorders and metabolic diseases. Here it is noted that Jordi suffers from hypogonadism. This is too low of a level of hormones due to reduced gonad function. This explains his low value of testosterone, which was therefore hardly produced by his body.
By the endocrinologist he prescribed the drug Sustanon. This is a medicine that’s on the doping list of WADA, so therefore he needed a TUE, a certificate. He gets this from his Belgian sports doctor and submits it to the KNWU (Dutch federation of Cycling) and the Dutch Doping Authority. Although the approval of the certificate (TUE) has not yet been received, Van Loon already has the Sustanon injection every three weeks put by the sports doctor, because there were no competitions on the agenda in the winter of 2017. However, when he didn’t had a green light in the run of his TUE before the dutch Race of Ster van Zwolle, he contacted the Doping authorities and UCI. It took months to get a green light. Then these agencies took actions and the certificate will be available before its first race in 2018. He was told that he’s the first athlete in the Netherlands to have a certificate for this drug.
In the spring of 2018, Van Loon feels good for his team Destil-Parkhotel Continental Cycling team and is able to participate in the races. Because it’s going so well, he decides in April to not use the drug anymore. After a few weeks without Sustanon, He felt it’s not good and his performance at school and on the bike deteriorates noticeably. Then he decided in consultation with his sports doctor and endocrinologist to resume treatment via Sustanon injections. From 7-11 August 2018, he even finished sixth in the five-day Tour of Szeklerland (UCI 2.2) in Romania. A week later he participate in the Dutch race Ronde van de Actherhoek. “Without a doubt, I went to the doping control after the race. I was confident and not afraid of anything because I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. I issued the certificate for Sustanon to the cintroleur there, “says Van Loon.
Then, on September 22 there falls a letter from the Doping Authority on the floor in his parental home in Lage Zwaluwe in het Netherlands. Jordi van Loon tested positive on 19-Norandrosterone. A body’s own substance that is on the prohibited list (WADA) when the amount is found above a threshold value, what also means that has characteristics with Sustanon. By van Loon, the value was found above the permitted limited value. There is a suspicion that he used Deca Durabolin (Nandrolone) a sister (related) drug of Sustanon.
Two days later there’s already a long conversation between the Doping Authority and Jordi with his parents. This conversation was also recorded by both parties. The persons of the Doping Authority are initially understanding. The question arises whether there’s used a wrong injection had been made by the Belgian sports doctor. Van Loon ,,I even got the offer that a substantial reduction in sentence was possible if I could demonstrate that it was quite a mess in the practice of the Belgian sports doctor and that there was given me a wrong injection accidentially. And If I could give them names of other athletes (read cyclist) who uses doping, then there was even an acquittal. I din’t knew about this and therefore I refused there offer.”
When Herman Ram, director of the Doping Authority, was confronted with this by Cycling Opinions, he replies in an email: ,,The doping regulations offer the possibility to offer a person who is prosecuted for a doping offense with a reduced sentence, if the person concerned provides information that the determination of another doping offens leads. Acquittal is not possible in this context.”
To better understand this complex matter, Van Loon approaches lawyer Lars Westhoff and doping expert Douwe de Boer to help him. It becomes clear that Van Loon cannot fall back on the baselines value of testosterone, which the Doping Authority should have determined when the certificate for Sustanon was approved. Although director Ram of Doping Authority contradicts this: “in the context of the assessment by a dispensation committee of a dispensation request, no tests there are never done.”
De Boer advised Van Loon to have an IRMS method to be done, so that the body’s own amount of 10-norandrosterone can be proven. However, such a test outside the regular anti-doping laboratories costs about 25.000 euros, an amount of money the Jordi van Loon cannot pay. Also with this request for financial assistance via NL Sporter from NOC*NSF, Van Loon does not get any further, because the first 25.000 euros will in any case remain at his own expense. It could be considerably cheaper if an anti-doping laboratory cooperated, but then you would again need the permission from the Doping Authority.
In December 2019, Jordi van Loon was found guilty of the use of doping by the Institute of Sports Justice in Netherlands. The cyclist was therefore imposed with a four-year suspension, which means that he does not participate in any races for four years. That is the maximum penalty for the deliberate use of prohibited substances. Herman Ram (Doping Authority) tells that there are two standard penalties for violating the doping rules: ,,Two years if it concerns unintentional use. For example in case of polluted reasons, negligent, or ignorance. The penalty is four years fo deliberate use. The you must have deliberately searched for it. “
Van Loon’s request to discuss this situation with the KNWU is denied by general director Thorwald Veneberg. Veneberg replies. “These are very complex and difficult issues. We are affiliated with an independent institute, the ISR, to provide the best and most objective judgment possible. As an independent organization, the deal with these issues for us and are authorized to impose santions, which we must also adhere to. We have no influence on the final statement. Discussing with this will therefore not affect the judgment either, because the rulling was made by the Dutch ISR and we cannot change this rulling. “
According to doping expert Douwe de Boer, it should ne noted that the Dutch ISR and other authorities has no medical experts with them or has demonstrably consulted in this case, even though this is the stumbling block. De Boer states: ,,Sports federations and the Dutch Dopingauthorities hide behind theyre legal rules and the Dutch ISR. Although any other athlete has the right to defend himself, he usually does not have the financial means to do medical research, unless your name is Chris Fromme. It looks like a duel between two gunslingers, one with ammunition and the other emphatically not. It is then claimed by the sherrif and local judge that the game was fair according to Wild West rules.”
The Internation Cycling Union (UCI) responds via Simon Geinoz and emphasizes that Van Loon falls under the Dutch Doping Authority, ,,The UCI has no authority to change the decision in your file, nor to re-process your file at your reques. “
Van Loon notices that no one wants to listen to him anymore. That the Doping Authority, Dutch ISR, UCI and KNWU close theyre ranks and stop bothering to hear his story. “I even indicated that they were allowed to fully examine me as a test subject, “ says Van Loon. “given my problems with my hormone balance, this might have provided the Doping Authority with interesting insights, but that proposal was also dismissed. They were not open for anything. SO I’ve decided to share my story with everyone. Not to get a reduced sentence and also to demonstrate my innocence has now become almost impossible after two years. I want to demonstrate how chanceless you are as an athlete who has no financial resources when your run into this problem. “