• Iris Slappendel and the Cervelo-Bigla cycling team lead the peloton in the 2015 Tour of Britain (Getty)Source: Getty
Past riders made the accusations against Thomas Campana in a Dutch news article. He denied the allegations via Cyclingnews.
Cycling Central

23 Nov 2018 - 9:12 AM  UPDATED 23 Nov 2018 - 10:25 AM

Dutch news site de Volksrant detailed accounts from former Cervelo-Bigla riders Iris Slappendel, Carmen Small, Vera Koedooder and Doris Schweizer in a feature article on Slappendel, of incidents in 2015 where riders were insulted, pulled from races for no reason, their medical concerns ignored and diets controlled.  

One account alleges Campana told two 19-year-olds they were only allowed to drink water during a training camp, resulting in one of the riders becoming sick a few days later. 

Cyclingnews confirmed the accounts with Slappendel.

"He also told me not to eat bread any more but I'm Dutch, I always need bread," Slappendel said to Cyclingnews. "Me and some other riders just joked about it and we ate it anyway.

"I didn't feel like my career depended on Thomas Campana. For other riders it was different. I think the year after it was worse, but I had left the team already.

"This isn't something particular to him, this happens in other teams. Team managers try to interfere with everything even if it is something they don’t know anything about."

Another former Cervelo-Bigla rider from 2015, world time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten confirmed the report with Cyclingnews saying, "everything in the article is 100 per cent true." 

Cyclingnews also reached out to Campana who denied the allegations. 

"What has been written is definitely not our side," he said. "There is a lot of confidential documents that have to be reviewed in order to understand the story. To understand the whole thing and to be fair, it is important to have a look at the paperwork, and our side of the story. It not only affects me but other team members."

The de Volksrant article was predominantly focused on Slappendel's post pro career work establishing a new women's pro rider union, The Cyclist's Alliance, prompted in large part by Slappendel's entire experience as a pro cyclist. 

Women riders organise with new union
Recognising that their interests need better representation, women professionals have organised and established The Cyclists Alliance.