Barry claims 2006 Tour of Flanders was set up
Leif Hoste has denied allegations by Michael Barry that Discovery Channel sold the 2006 Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) to archrival Tom Boonen.
In his new autobiography, “Shadows on the Road,” Barry contends that a deal was hatched between Hoste, Boonen, and Discovery Channel sport director Dirk Demol, at the expense of George Hincapie.
Speaking to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, Hoste denied a deal was made.
“We agreed that I wouldn’t collaborate if George was chasing alone, but that wasn’t the case, so I continued to ride [with Boonen],” Hoste told the newspaper. “It’s not unusual to talk in that situation. Second place was the best result possible. If I didn’t pull, we would have been caught … There was talk, but not about money.”
Demol also acknowledged there was discussion about tactics, but denied the race was sold. Hoste was second, and Hincapie won a sprint out of a chase group for third.
“Hoste made the race-winning attack with the key rival, Tom Boonen, whose defeat had been the focus of our team meetings,” Barry wrote. “Immediately they cooperated, forging a gap ahead of George and the others. As I watched the scenario unfold, the riders spoke for a few moments, and then with our director … It was apparent that a deal was made, with George left out, his legs strong enough to win, but with his hands tied by shady racing tactics and backroom deals. … Money had likely determined the outcome, as it does in far too many races, merely adding to the corruption of the sport.”
Barry’s book made headlines earlier this week when he said he regularly took the UCI-approved, but highly potent painkiller Tramadol during his stint at Sky.