/ Cycling

2012 Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal admits to doping

Updated: Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 09:45 | Comments

Ryder Hesjedal admits he took a banned substance ten years ago
Ryder Hesjedal admits he took a banned substance ten years ago

The 2012 Giro d'Italia winner, Ryder Hesjedal, has admitted to doping a decade ago.

Ahead of allegations of illegal practices against him which are due to be published in the autobiography of former team-mate Michael Rasmussen, the 32-year-old Canadian has issued a statement confirming he did commit to doping in 2003.

"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," he said in a statement, referring to his time riding with Rabobank.

Hesjedal is a former team-mate of Lance Armstrong and, as such, was asked to speak with the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in the wake of the scandal which surrounded his old colleague.

"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," he added.

"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 apologise for my part in the dark past of the sport. I will always be sorry."

Hesjedal's current team, Garmin-Sharp, say their rider had told them, USADA and the Candian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES) of his previous indiscretions before Rasmussen's book became common knowledge.

"As we have said from the beginning, Slipstream Sports was created because we wanted to build a team where cyclists could compete 100% clean," a statement from them said.

"And, as we have previously stated, our expectation is that anyone in our organisation 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 per cent truth and reconciliation in the sport of cycling, we support him."

Travis Tygart, the CEO of USADA, praised Hesjedal for coming forward and volunteering information.

He said: "As has been publicly reported, we can confirm that USADA, along with the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport, interviewed cyclist, Ryder Hesjedal, earlier this year as part of our ongoing investigation into the sport of cycling.

"Athletes like him, and others, who have voluntarily come in, taken accountability for their actions and have been fully truthful, are essential to securing a brighter future for the sport of cycling.

"As in all cases, where there is actionable evidence of doping within the statute of limitations, we have imposed discipline and announced sanctions.

"We continue our ongoing investigation into the sport of cycling, and have also been urging the UCI to take the decisive and transparent action it announced over a year ago to truly set the sport on a new foundation for the good of clean athletes."

Tygart went on to add he hopes that new UCI president Brian Cookson can help him achieve his aims of an entirely clean sport.

"We are hopeful and confident that the new UCI leadership will fulfill its promise of conducting a full and independent process to finally put this sport on a new path toward integrity that protects the rights of clean athletes, and believe strongly the time for this is now," he added.

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