July 29/04 8:46 am - Specialized Releases Statement Regarding Meirhaeghe
Posted by Editor on 07/29/04
Specialized Makes Statement
Specialized Bicycles, the sponsor of world champion Filip Meirhaeghe, who just tested positive for EPO, has issued a statement regarding the situation:
In a phone call to Specialized headquarters on Wednesday, July 28, mountain bike world champion Filip Meirhaeghe regretfully informed his sponsor that he has tested positive for the banned substance EPO. Filip accepted responsibility for his actions and announced his retirement.
On Thursday morning at a press conference in Belgium, Meirhaeghe admitted his guilt and said it was time for him to stop racing. "Nobody from my entourage knew about that EPO use," he said. "I immediately understood it would be fatal for my career."
Specialized's policy with its athletes is "zero tolerance" regarding the use of banned substances. Mike Sinyard, company founder and president, made this clear on Wednesday evening, "If you cheat, you're fired."
"Filip is a great person and an exceptional athlete who exercised exceptionally poor judgement," Sinyard continued. "And, it truly saddens me to see his accomplishments diminished this way. I believe that as a person, he is fundamentally above such things, but made a grave mistake."