Expat British policeman in Bermuda handed two-year-ban for EPO use

Fellow riders' suspicions raised by strong improvement in results

by Simon_MacMichael   November 10, 2011  

Syringe

A British amateur cyclist who served as a policeman in Bermuda has been banned for cycling for two years after testing positive for EPO. According to Bermuda newspaper the Royal Gazette, suspicions had been raised among local cyclists by a noticeable improvement in performance by Damien Sharpe, who regularly gained podium places in races on the island this year.

Sharp, who has now reportedly returned to the UK, admitted using EPO and waived his right to a hearing, reports the newspaper. His ban runs till 17 August 2013.

Despite the suspicions of his fellow riders, a statement from the Bermuda Bicycle Association (BBA) revealed that Sharp had been caught by random, rather than targeted, testing.

“As with many sporting bodies, the BBA’s members are subject to random testing and during one of these tests it was confirmed that an athlete was in violation of the anti-doping regulations,” it said.

“Doping at any level of sport is cheating and this was a clear instance of an individual attempting to gain an competitive edge by cheating.

“It is a shock to the BBA and a disservice to the sport of cycling that a recreational athlete should choose to resort to such illegal and immoral methods in order to gain advantage in local races.

“Though the athlete has since left Bermuda, all relevant cycling governing bodies have been informed of the violation and will enforce the ban as they see fit.”

Bermuda Sports Anti Doping Authority (BADSA) are obligated to publicly name any sportsman caught taking a performance enhancing drug by the World Anti Doping Authority.

Cathy Belvedere, executive director of the Bermuda Sports Anti Doping Authority (BADSA), said: “It is very disappointing when we find that an athlete has cheated.

“However, it is even more disconcerting when we find out that the substance is as dangerous and sophisticated as EPO. This high risk substance with dangerous affects on the human body was being used by an athlete competing in a mid level local competition.”

Sharp is believed to have bought the EPO in the United States, and it was the US Anti-doping Agency that alerted BADSA to him, reports the Royal Gazette, and the British national’s home anti-doping agency also became involved in the case, said Belvedere.

“We can confirm that the test was conducted in co-operation with UK Anti Doping and USADA, the US anti-doping agency. A clear demonstration that anti-doping organisations worldwide, can and do work together. Increasingly, globally, dopers have nowhere to hide.

“This case highlights the importance of cooperation between National Anti Doping Organisations and how information sharing can be used to successfully identify and ultimately bring sanctions to doping athletes,” she continued.

“There will be efforts in the very near future to establish protocols and procedures with our local interdiction agencies to ensure that our collection of information and the ability to share is reciprocal globally.”

Bermuda sports website Islandstats.com obtained a statement from Sharp’s former employers which read: "The Bermuda Police Service can confirm that Mr. Sharp is no longer an employee. Although EPO is on the list of banned substances issued by some sporting bodies such as the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Cycling Union, possession does not constitute a criminal offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act."

 

7 user comments

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What an idiot.

Interesting to see the international co-operation though. Good stuff.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
10th November 2011 - 11:34

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I was horrified when on a US cycling blog recently to see an advert for EPO flashing away in the sidebar

One can almost understand (though never condone) professionals seeking a pharmaceutical edge - but for an amateur? Kinda sad really

posted by mad_scot_rider [518 posts]
10th November 2011 - 12:08

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Tragic.

posted by Mat Brett [1722 posts]
10th November 2011 - 12:50

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Hmm. Royale Gazette calls EPO a "dangerous blood-boosting drug." I think it's actually a safe blood boosting drug (as approved by the FDA), particularly for people who are about to die from kidney cancer. The fact that it's use is illegal in cycling doesn't mean that it is dangerous.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [188 posts]
10th November 2011 - 18:35

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pedalpowerDC wrote:
Hmm. Royale Gazette calls EPO a "dangerous blood-boosting drug." I think it's actually a safe blood boosting drug (as approved by the FDA), particularly for people who are about to die from kidney cancer. The fact that it's use is illegal in cycling doesn't mean that it is dangerous.

Well, not dangerous apart from the heart attacks, strokes and so on that it can cause in healthy athletes.

posted by Mat Brett [1722 posts]
11th November 2011 - 16:26

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pedalpowerDC wrote:
The fact that it's use is illegal in cycling doesn't mean that it is dangerous.

Incorrect. It produces red blood cells which thickens the blood, which can trigger a heart attack. There was an alarming spate of suspicious deaths among otherwise healthy young athletes while asleep. Some info:

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2009/02/cyclist-dies-in-sleep.html

The FDA approves / has approved all sorts of sh*t that doesn't belong in people's bodies. Sadly, vested interest, backhanders etc are rife in American medical politics.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1778 posts]
11th November 2011 - 22:47

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Agree - very depressing. I was on a highly promoted 9 day ride, and from the performances of some it seemed like they may have been doped. The performances of some, considering their shape, size and age of some of the participants, appeared to be a little too good (although not amazing). It's very sad if it is seeping into the amateur ranks.

Cycling, and other athletic/endurance events seem to be having the problem that body building and weight lifting had, and continues to have.

Will this ever end?

posted by Colin Peyresourde [977 posts]
3rd January 2013 - 12:11

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