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Young cyclo-cross star attempts suicide following EPO revelations

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."
 

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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