Lefevere and Boonen succeed in court

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18.12.2007 / Quickstep team manager Patrick Lefevere and his star rider Tom Boonen won a court case against Belgian politician Jean-Marie Dedecker.  The court of Brugge ruled that Dedecker lacked diligence. As a politician and media pro Dedecker had to have known that even without naming names public interest would focus on popular Belgian riders. Dedecker will appeal against the decision.

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Tom Boonen won the Belgian sportsman of the year award (picture: Cyclingheroes)

Earlier this year Jean-Marie Dedecker told a Belgian tv station that "three Belgian top riders" received performance enhanced drugs in Italy. The Quickstep team and particularly Tom Boonen felt libelled and went to court.

The management of Boonen demanded 1 euro compensation. Lefevere demanded 25.000 euro compensation for the team. The court ruled that dedecker will have to pay 1 euro compensation to Lefevere and Boonen. The judge explained that none of the demanding parties proved that they suffered financial losses. The judge also said that the recent doping cases caused more damage to the image of professional cycling as the remarks of Dedecker did.

Dedecker announced that he will appeal. The Belgian senator said the court case aimed to silence him. The judge said that as a politician and media pro Dedecker had to have known that even without naming names public interest would focus on popular Belgian riders.

Quickstep team manager Patrick Lefevere was happy with the court decision. Lefevere told Belgian radio station Sporza Radio: "I don't care about the euro, but I think its important that the court decided in our favour."

Lefevere continued by saying: "In my opinion a member of parliament can't claim something without proof. Its more than a year ago and we are still waiting for those three names."

Lefevere added: "That Dedecker will appeal doesn't susprise me. He is a bad loser."

"The judge says we can't proof that we have suffered finacial losses, but this claim [Dedecker's claim that three Belgian top riders received performance enhanching drugs in Italy] was the reason of the stories in 'Het Laatste Nieuws' and I have less sponsors now."

Lefevere concluded with: "I would have donated the 25.000 euro, but the damage is more than 10 times high."

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