Father stops suicide bid as manager levels drug accusations at Polish coach

Kacper Szczepaniak, who finished second to his brother Pawel in January’s Under-23 World Cyclo-cross Championships has reportedly tried to take his own life following last week’s revelations that the pair had tested positive for Recombinant EPO after the race in Tabor, Czech Republic.

Polskie Radio reports that Pawel Szczepaniak confirmed his brother’s attempted suicide to the Belgian magazine, Sportwereld. Although no other details have been released, it is understood that Kacper’s father managed to stop the 19-year-old as he tried to end his life.

Meanwhile, Hans Van Kasteren, who manages the team the brothers ride for, Telenet-Fidea is reported to have accused Polish coaching staff of encouraging the brothers to use doping techniques, with Poliskie Radio saying that he told Sportwereld that “they took drugs at the invitation of a Polish coach.” Van Kasteren added, “I am currently finding out who the man is.”

Myles McCorry, co-founder of the anti-doping organisation Bike Pure who himself has a background in cyclo-cross, told road.cc: "It is awful news when someone tests positive. it is actually worse when it happens at such a high profile event- and if the story could get any more terrible on this occasion, it was espoirs."

He continued: "They have lost everything. Young guys on the start of their careers seem to have been lead astray and corrupted by a greedy coach. A life ban must be handed down to the coach. Putting the health of impressionable young athletes at risk, far out weighs the effect of just cheating."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.