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Jumbo-Visma DS claps back about motor doping claims

Merijn Zeeman: 'Jérôme Pineau has no right to talk about others’

10-09-2023 Vuelta A Espana; Tappa 15 Pamplona - Lekunberri; 2023, Jumbo - Visma; Kuss, Sepp; Lekunberri; Photo by: Sirotti

Jumbo Visma directeur sportif Merijn Zeeman has responded to the allegations of Jérôme Pineau. In an interview with GCN, Zeeman says Pineau is in no position to talk about other cyclists, given that he himself has destroyed an entire cycling team, the French B & B Hotels squad.

Frenchman says attack was too incredible

Pineau made the accusation against Jumbo-Visma on Monday in the podcast Les Grandes Gueules du Sport of RMC Sport. The Frenchman went on to say that he thinks the Dutch team is using mechanical doping.

“If you look at Sepp Kuss’ attack on the Col du Tourmalet, against riders like Juan Ayuso, Cian Uijtdebroeks, who is seen as a great talent, and Marc Soler. They’re not suckers on bikes, are they? Kuss rides ten kilometres per hour faster with his attack, then has to brake by a spectator and then drives ten kilometers per hour faster,” he began. “With Lance Armstrong there was never any evidence, but we riders in the peloton knew about his deception. Now the exact same thing is happening.”

Pineau has no crediblity

Zeeman mentioned the explosion of the B & B Hotels team in the fall of 2022, which left dozens of riders scrambling to find a new job–including Mark Cavendish and Canada’s Maggie Coles-Lyster. “We get comments from a ‘team manager’ who signed several riders and staff members who were put back on the streets in October because he was fooling everyone? Does he have the right to talk about others?” the Dutchman said.

Zeeman kicked out of Tour de France during bike checks

In the 2020 Tour de France, Zeeman was kicked out of the race after acting inappropriately to a UCI staff member when they were taking apart Primož Roglič’s yellow-jersey bike as part of the checks for technological fraud.

“The UCI Commissaires Panel has excluded Merijn Zeeman, team manager of the Jumbo-Visma team from the Tour de France for ‘intimidation, insults, improper behaviour of a team member towards a UCI member during the bike check carried out at the end of stage 17’, in accordance with article 8.2.2 of the UCI Regulations,” a UCI statement read.

Dutchman was angry after UCI ‘damaged’ bike

“I got angry when the commissioner dismounted the cranks from Primož’s bike,” he said. “We stand for a fair sport and that includes checks, but that must be done in a reasonable way. Despite that, I should have kept myself cool and approached the UCI commissioner in a more respectful way,” Zeeman posted on Twitter.

The UCI said afterwards that the bike had not been damaged.