Cycling Australia Vice President Stephen Hodge resigns after confessing to doping
Hardworking domestique rode with Jalabert at ONCE and Virenque at Festina
Cycling Australia Vice President Stephen Hodge has resigned with immediate effect after admitting doping during his racing career. The news comes at the end of a week in which the governing body sacked men’s elite road coordinator Matt White after he confessed to doping while riding at US Postal.
A hardworking domestique, Hodge rode and finished the Tour de France six times during a career spanning a decade or so from the mid-1980s, riding for teams including KAS-Mavic, ONCE and Festina alongside the likes of Sean Kelly, Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque.
He joined the board of Cycling Australia in 1999, and a detailed ‘Where Are They Now?’ feature on the website Cycling Tips last year described him as “probably the best cycling advocate Australia has.”
In a statement Cycling Australia President Klaus Mueller said: "In light of the current circumstances Stephen has made it clear he doesn't want a mistake he made two decades ago to affect the work of Cycling Australia to take the sport forward.
"I would like to personally thank Stephen for his immense contribution to the sport in a volunteer capacity," he continued.
"When his professional cycling career ended he became a tireless worker for the sport and for almost 15 years has freely given up his time as an advocate for the rights of athletes and to promote and develop the sport in Australia."
"At all times while Stephen was on the Board with me he acted with high principle and great integrity and has been a staunch opponent of doping.
"I commend him for his decision to speak out," Mueller concluded.
Cycling Australia also published the text of a letter it had received from Hodge, reproduced in full below.
Dear CA Board and CA members,
I am writing to tender my resignation as a Cycling Australia (CA) Director effective immediately.
Prior to the CA Board meeting on the 16 October 2012 I advised Graham Fredericks and Klaus Mueller that during a stage of my career as a professional cyclist I took performance enhancing drugs—a decision I am not proud of.
I am sorry I did it. It was wrong. I apologise unreservedly to CA, my family, friends, colleagues and cycling fans.
When I made Graham and Klaus aware of my situation I offered to resign. It was agreed that I would immediately stand aside from all CA Board duties in advance of submitting a formal resignation. At no point have I been involved in any CA Board meetings or discussions in relation to the termination of Matt White's contract.
During my time on the CA Board, I have shared CA's strong commitment to the fight against doping. I believe other cyclists should never have to face the same pressures I did during my professional career.
I would also like to believe that in my 13 years as a director of CA I have been able to make a valuable contribution in this regard, as well as helping to encourage the growth and strength of cycling as a sport in Australia.
I am proud to have been associated with this work and believe cycling has come a long way—and in fact has led the way in many instances. It goes without saying that these are challenging times for cycling. But I feel more hopeful than ever for the future of a sport I love
It has been a privilege to serve on the Board and I am grateful for the time and opportunity of working with you all. I wish CA every success.