Posted by Editoress on 10/30/13
Ryder Hesjedal has become the latest cyclist to admit to doping in his past. The move was prompted by allegations in Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen's forthcoming book Yellow Fever, which were revealed by the Danish publication Politiken earlier today. [see Daily News- Rasmussen Suggests Canadian MTBers Hesjedal, McGrath & Sheppard Doped]
It has been long rumoured that Hesjedal was one of the unnamed riders who provided affidavits to the United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA), and that has now been confirmed in this statement.
Hesjedal appears to essentially confirm that he doped during the 2003-2004 period as a mountain biker, when he was racing for the Subaru-Gary Fisher squad. The fact that his name was not released in the USADA Reasoned Decision appears to suggest that his testimony did not materially impact on the Lance Armstrong case.
Significantly, there appears to be no current plans to sanction him - the statement released earlier by Cycling Canada [who earlier had told us they were working on a statement with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES)] implicitly suggested this when they referred to the statute of limitations and a need to develop a way to deal with such historic allegations and admissions.
In a statement just released by Hesjedal's team Garmin-Sharp, Hesjedal says:
Cycling is my life and has been ever since I can remember. I have loved and lived this sport but more than a decade ago, I chose the wrong path. And even though those mistakes happened more than 10 years ago, and they were short-lived, it does not change the fact that I made them and I have lived with that and been sorry for it ever since. To everyone in my life, inside and outside the sport - to those that have supported me and my dreams - including my friends, my family, the media, fans, my peers, sponsors - to riders who didn't make the same choices as me all those years ago, I sincerely apologize for my part in the dark past of the sport. I will always be sorry.
Although I stopped what I was doing many years before I joined Slipstream Sports, I was and am deeply grateful to be a part of an organization that makes racing clean its first priority and that supports athletes for telling the truth. I believe that being truthful will help the sport continue to move forward, and over a year ago when I was contacted by anti-doping authorities, I was open and honest about my past. I have seen the best and the worst of the sport and I believe that it is now in the best place it's ever been. I look at young riders on our team and throughout the peloton, and I know the future of the sport has arrived. I'm glad that they didn’t have to make the same choices I did, and I will do everything I can to continue to help the sport that I love.
Slipstream Sports, the owner of the Garmin-Sharp team, also made a statement:
As we have said from the beginning, Slipstream Sports was created because we wanted to build a team where cyclists could compete 100% clean. And, as we have previously stated, our expectation is that anyone in our organization contacted by any anti-doping authority must be open and honest with that authority. Ryder is no exception and a year ago when he was contacted he cooperated fully and truthfully testified to USADA and CCES. For this reason and because of our desire for 100% truth and reconciliation in the sport of cycling, we support him.
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