Blanco team officials continue to deny the military style interrogations of riders on the question of doping. Now, the allegations have become far more serious.
Un-named riders have said that a former commando Eelco Wiseman has employed torture tactics to force riders to admit to any past doping.
“He hooked a car battery up to my testicles,” claimed one rider. “The pain was excruciating. There must be an UCI rule against this kind of treatment.”
A spokesman for the UCI said that there are no regulations like a Geneva Convention that prohibit the use of torture on a rider, only rules governing the late payment of salaries. “We are disturbed by this news and it reminds us of that torture scene in Three Kings,” said Enrico DeSado, press agent for the UCI. “We are monitoring the situation closely.”
According to another rider, Wise produced a hunting knife and threatened to slice off an ear just like in the torture scene from Quentin Tarratino’s film Reservoir Dogs. “He is crazy, a psychopath,” said the rider. “He was dancing in front of me, holding the knife and singing some old song like Michael Madsen. It was terrifying.”
Another source confirmed that Wise had to be physically restrained from slicing off the ear and that there is now disagreement within the management of Blanco Pro Cycling on whether Wise has gone too far with his extreme methods.
However team manager Richard Plugge remains committed to working with Wiseman. “He is unorthodox but he is here to help the riders with their memory. Sometimes that requires a more interactive approach,” said Plugge. He insisted that the knife in question was actually a mechanic’s Allen wrench. “I think everyone would agree, you can’t cut off an ear with an Allen wrench.”
While a number of horrified riders have already complained to the riders union, Plugge plans to stay the course. “We are just doing what Sky did with their Zero Tolerance policy,” said Plugge. “We just don’t have the budget like Sky to bring in some fancy psychologist. We need results quicker and on a budget.”
However, disturbing details continue to emerge concerning Wiseman’s violent methods. There are claims that he has used water-boarding, sleep deprivation, hanging riders up by their thumbs and putting bags over their heads and then firing a gun. “This is like Abu Ghraib prison,” said one rider. “I thought my year at Astana was painful, but now I can’t wait to leave this team.”
Confronted with the claims of torture, Plugge said that the riders were over-dramatizing events. “Yes, Wiseman can be physical but violent? No, a rider or two has run to the press with wild stories.
We hired him because he is a mental coach, and independent from me, the team, the riders, the sport, everyone,” said Plugge.
It may be that Wiseman is perhaps too independent. “He threatened to rip out my teeth with pliers if I didn’t admit I had used EPO,” said one rider. Then he was gonna chop me up and feed me to the pigs like that lunatic Brick top in Guy Richie’s movie Snatch.”
Wise himself has had little to say about the torture allegations. “I am not a commando I only worked with commandos. I am a former TV producer in Hollywood — what would I know about torture?” said Wiseman. “Really, the riders are just imagining things.”