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British Junior National 10-mile TT champion admits EPO use

Gabriel Evans won title after he had been reported to UK Anti-Doping for possession of banned substance

British National Junior 10 Mile Time Trial champion Gabriel Evans, aged 18, has admitted using EPO after UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) was informed that he was in possession of the banned substance.

Evans made a frank admission of his use of the banned substance on Timetriallingforum.co.uk forum earlier today, and has since had his membership of London Dynamo terminated, with the club saying in a tweet that it “has a zero tolerance approach to doping.”

The London teenager, who won the National Junior 25 Time Trial in 2014 and rode for the Elite outfit Catford CC-Equipe Banks this year, said he first bought EPO on 3 August this year – that is, two days after he lost that title, coming second.

He says he raced one time after UKAD had been alerted to his use of EPO by the father of a team mate, in September's National Junior 10 Mile Time Trial Championship, which he won.

His admission comes on the same day that UKAD announced that Andrew Hastings, a member of Richardsons-Trek RT, had tested positive for two anabolic steroids and as a result banned from all sport for four years.

Here is Evans' post on Timetriallingforum.co.uk, in full.

My background

I am a 2nd-year junior rider from central London. I have been involved in high-level sport since 14. In 2013 I won the London Youth Games Cycling TT and in 2014 I had some road race results as well as winning the National Junior 25 TT, and got a place with a semi-professional British team for the 2015 season.

What happened

On 3 August 2015 I bought EPO for the first time. On 11 August 2015 I travelled to France for a weeks training camp with the family of a then-teammate. With me I brought one vial of EPO. This was found by the teammate's father who presented evidence to UK Anti-Doping. UKAD contacted me shortly after to arrange a deposition, in which I promptly admitted to all wrongdoing. I withdrew from the upcoming Junior Tour of Wales, the premier event on the junior calendar.

I have competed only one time since buying the drugs; on 5 September 2015 I raced the National Junior 10m TT in which I finished 1st. I did not have this race in mind when I used the drugs; I realise that competing was (another) huge mistake but at the time my intent was not malicious. I was hoping to regain some normality and that the whole mess would somehow be swept under the rug. I have now forfeited this title.

Going forward

First of all I would like to say that I am extremely sorry to those who have supported me thus far, especially to those individuals and clubs who have been an endless resource over my intense, albeit short, journey. I know that this will come as a nasty shock, and I wish that I could apologise in person to all of you.

I would also particularly like to apologise to the competitors and organisers of the 2015 Junior National 10 TT, especially to those three riders who were cheated out of medals. 

Finally: if there is anybody reading this who is considering using PEDs, know that my choice has turned out to be immensely destructive and has seriously affected my personal life for the past four months (and, I’m sure, will continue to do so). When each week yields news of another positive test it can be easy to work yourself into a mentality whereby doping can be normalised and justified. In reality it strips all enjoyment out of riding. It is immensely damaging not only to your sporting career but also your personal life and it is also very, very dangerous. There is nothing that I would not give to be able to turn back the clock to August 2015 and have that choice again.

I am doing the best I can to put this right by being as honest and contrite as possible. I plan to continue to train hard for the duration of my ban and return to racing once it expires, whenever that should be.

Gabriel Evans

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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31 comments

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Mr Mike | 7 years ago
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IMO he should be banned and 'asked ' to work with the UCi etc,speaking to young riders about how he either allowed himself to be led or led himself. Would he have carried on if he hadn't been caught or might we be reading about another Tiernan Locke in a few years time? He's obviously got some talent for sports and he'll find another outlet but the world of competitive cycling should be closed to him. Maybe it's harsh but no-one made him do it or if they did,  name them.

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barbarus | 8 years ago
1 like

When I look back on the many stupid, selfish, dangerous decisions I made when I was that age I can't help but hope people will let him start again.
Clearly cheating is not OK but he's barely more than a child.

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davel | 8 years ago
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Regardless, all those methods of 'cheating' are irrelevant on a cycling forum thread dedicated to an 18 year-old taking EPO, but those methods, if caught, would also result in pretty harsh penalties for the 'cheater'. Nobody's suggesting throwing away the key; there are a few, it seems (myself included), that think if a kid is taking EPO in this climate he should have the book thrown at him and should be lucky to race again.

The 'everyone's doing it' excuse is why the TDF has a chunk of winners missing from its records, why Froome had piss thrown on him this year, why the Armstrong circus is a bigger draw than actual cycling, why Pantani's dead. It can't be an excuse anymore. Neither is 'all 18 year-olds are dickheads'. Yeah, we all were. So what?

And this lad's 'honest' explanation... It just doesn't ring true for me. Could be that he's been getting away with it for ages, beating and putting other non-EPO'd up kids off a career as The Next Big Thing. What about their chances of £1M contracts and page 3 girls?

Could be that he's covering up a whole network, or at least others who've put him up to it.

Or it could be exactly as he's telling it - but having numpties speculating on t'internet about him is an unfortunate by-product of his own doing.

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doc_davo | 8 years ago
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I echo bradleyjbensons comments exactly

 

See here's the funny thing, It's were 'cycling' has become the victim of its own success in the UK in recent years.

1990 the same kid, with the same talent is destined to try his hand abroad if he can find the money, come back and race semi pro domestically along side his proper job and do the sport he loves, he loves if because he has to, there is little money, no fame and a lot of suffering - so nothing to gain apart from the love

roll on 2015, the lad has a few wins under his belt, but need to get noticed, he might make it and join a pro continue squad and make £15k a year, but if he hits the big time will earn £1M+ a year and be banging page three models, he's a rockstar, superstar.... Footballer!!! 

Doping at this level has been established on the continent; Italy, France, Belgium spain etc for a long time where the pathways to professional contracts have been long established, doping goes un tested, but wins in the hard races mean a career.

I have no doubt that the same kid in any sport would have taken a chance if he believed if would tip the balance to make it to the big time, and I'm sure it's happening all around the globe as we speak, whilst there will be those that remain strong and resist. So whilst I'm not sure of the phrase to best describe what I feel for this kid I.e. Sympathy, apathy, disgust etc I can certainly understand why he's done i

a side note though with regards to the US cat 2, I think it's a different scenario really, though I will say when I am in my 50's, retired and wanting to ride my way though the Alps, Rockies, Dolomites etc - I will have no qualms in looking for a male HRT to make me feel young again, as if it's improving my life why should I not - not only at I believe it will become more common place for people to do the same.

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RTB | 8 years ago
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How does an 18 year old kid (or possibly younger) know how to get an advanced, under the counter PED like EPO?  This is not a lone wolf story and the apology letter would have far more credence if it blew the gaff on the network ('cos there had to be one) that groomed and supplied him leading him to his fall.

Shocking story and deeply depressing.  I've been out on the road with some of these Catford CC guys and they are populated by young-gun, take no prisoner types so this is no surprise.  Great competitive edge but you have to know where the line is and this is a worry that they (and no doubt others) don't.

One piece of advice I would give all these young guys is to sit down and write the apology letter for destroying their potential careers, reputation, friendships and lives BEFORE they set out on their journey and each time they bitterly lose or are given the 'offer of a lifetime' they need to pull it out and think again.

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doc_davo replied to RTB | 8 years ago
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RTB wrote:

How does an 18 year old kid (or possibly younger) know how to get an advanced, under the counter PED like EPO?  This is not a lone wolf story and the apology letter would have far more credence if it blew the gaff on the network ('cos there had to be one) that groomed and supplied him leading him to his fall.

sssw

pretty easy really watch the BBC documentary, browse the Internet for a rew hours and Roberts your mothers brother, you have a source, a regime, understand micro dosing etc etc  - though still a damn site harder than getting AS, HGH, eph, Clen, T3, cocaine, amphetamine etc etc

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ch | 8 years ago
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Is it so easy for an 18 year old to get?  I can't imagine he was yet making appreciable money from cycling.  Did he get it legally and for free on the nation health?  Was he getting advice on how to microdose like a pro?

That American amatuer cat3/cat2 middle aged rider Matthew Beaudin  was spending $1000 a month on EPO.  

 

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Carton replied to ch | 8 years ago
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ch wrote:

David Anthony, that American amatuer cat3/cat2 middle aged rider Matthew Beaudin wrote about, was spending $1000 a month on EPO.  

FTFY, for clarity's sake.

Also, you didn't know to google (or yahoo/excite/askjeeves) stuff or procure illegal drugs at 16? I'm guessing the median latin a-level scores are fairly high on this board.

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sponican | 8 years ago
4 likes

I remember being 16. I was a f**king idiot.

Did I do dumb things that got me into trouble? yes.

Did I get busted for them? Of course I did. As explained, I was an idiot.

Did I get a second chance? Yes I did.

Am I in any position to condemn another 16 year old idiot? No I'm not.

There are some hard comments on here. 

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Carton | 8 years ago
1 like

davel wrote:

bradleyjnelson wrote:

the person who informed him, who helped him and encouraged this is the one who should have the lifetime ban and be hung out to dry. Not the youngster who in reality, was probably chasing a dream and acting on the 'advice' of someone else. 

I think painting the shadowy figures lurking in the background as the real villains, and the riders as stooges or pawns, is as simplistic as blaming solely the rider. If the scourge is to be removed everyone involved needs to be treated with zero tolerance.

I agree completely. He was caught by a teammate's dad, when he took the drugs on a trip with his teammate's family to France. That's quite bold. From where I'm sitting it sounds to me like this kid was the true bad apple in this particular barrel.  

Sure, there is a cultural context to PEDs in sport, and these are issues that cycling in particular needs to keep working at. But that doesn't excuse this. If you want to rationalize your particular worldview that given your all kids are inherently good and are corrupted by the evils of society, well that's your prerogative, everyone is entitled to their beliefs. Or maybe your experiences (you seem to have looked into the darker corners of the sport) point you to believe there is actually a budding Ferrari abusing Chelsea and Kensington kids into EPO. If you've seen anything of the sort I hope you've shared it; if not I'm sure you'll actually find a lot of support and a lot less criticism than you fear. But looking at the facts as presented here, nothing suggests that. Even given cycling's checkered history I can't recall an instance of club-sponsored doping at this level (East Germany, maybe?).

What the facts do suggest is that one kid saw a unethical path to his goals and decided to take it, consequences be damned. He seems to have gotten his due. I can only hope it helps him find a way to straighten himself out.

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bradleyjnelson | 8 years ago
4 likes

I'm disapointed with the views of the majority on this comment thread. 

 

As a start, I 100% the seriousness of what Gabriel Evans has done in taking performance enhancing drugs and should 100% have a ban for doing so, as UKAD have enforced. Just to put my stance on that, I dont think it should be reduced for 'helping' out others, not by 2 years anyway. If you do the crime, you very much have to do the crime. 

 

BUT, As I earlier mentioned, I feel the way that people have spoken about the individual in question is disapointing. I have raced both domestically and abroad, across various disciplines and I'm sure I'm just repeating what everyone already knows - our sport is not clean. 

 

I am not a million years older than Gabriel and I'd like to paint a picture for you, as I also feel that it was not solely his doing in this story. 

 

You're 17 years old and have a string of good results under your belt. You have potential to go places in the sport and are working with a coach, riding for a well established and well respected team and have ambitions of making it as a professional - have made the sacrifices to the other aspects of life that a normal 17 or 18 year old would do... trust me, you can not live the life of a normal teenager if you are trying to make it in our sport.

The story continues... Either your coach, your parents, your team manager or perhaps the team manager of another team, a slightly bigger, more prestigeous team contacts you and offers you a ride for the coming year. You commit more hours, train longer, train harder and dedicate everything to the situation only to be told that you're not quite where they'd hoped and  if you are going to make it on the team and at the top level, you need 'help'. 

 

Now, you're a 17 year old, you've dreamed of making it in cycling and you've given up huge amounts to get to have that opportunity and then someone who is seemingly in a position of knowledge and power gives you an ultimatum on your dreams. Now, I'm not saying what Gabriel has done should be excused. But what I am saying is, if this is how the story panned out, it takes a very strong willed youngster to take that situation and walk away when it's what you've been working for, for so long. When someone tells you that you're not good enough and that the only way you'll ever be good enough is to dope, it may seem for many that theres an obvious answer to this - but I dont care how moralistic everyone on this thread appears to be, that is not an easy call for any youngster to make. If you don't believe that this happens and teams and coaches don't do this - you are very wrong. 

 

Gabriel should be banned, he is banned, he will serve his ban and then spend the rest of his cycing career with a black mark against his name whether thats in racing or in the community. He has his punishment. That is where it should stop. 

 

The work should be put in place to find the route cause to why this has happened. I do not believe he made this choice alone and the person who informed him, who helped him and encouraged this is the one who should have the lifetime ban and be hung out to dry. Not the youngster who in reality, was probably chasing a dream and acting on the 'advice' of someone else. 

 

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davel replied to bradleyjnelson | 8 years ago
3 likes

bradleyjnelson wrote:

the person who informed him, who helped him and encouraged this is the one who should have the lifetime ban and be hung out to dry. Not the youngster who in reality, was probably chasing a dream and acting on the 'advice' of someone else. 

 

I think painting the shadowy figures lurking in the background as the real villains, and the riders as stooges or pawns, is as simplistic as blaming solely the rider. If the scourge is to be removed everyone involved needs to be treated with zero tolerance.

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DrJDog replied to bradleyjnelson | 8 years ago
2 likes

bradleyjnelson wrote:

I'm disapointed with the views of the majority on this comment thread. 

 

So you're saying we should feel sorry for this kid because he wasn't good enough and decided to cheat? Sorry, I don't agree.

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Stumps | 8 years ago
2 likes

I have no sympathy for him at all. He cheated and he knew what he was doing was wrong. Its as simple as that.

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arfa | 8 years ago
0 likes

A sad tale but i'd be surprised if there wasn't more to it than the statement put out. I sincerely doubt that of his own sole initiative he decided to "tool up" on epogen and no one else was involved. Whoever it was, they are the root cause of a young man making a bad decision. It's all well and good his club and all others kicking him out and pulling down the shutters but I'd want to be 100% sure that he really was a lone wolf so to speak. Somewhere along the line, culturally things have gone badly wrong and there will be no change until those who facilitate, turn a blind eye or impicitly endorse doping are well away from sport.
That said, the teammate's Father deserves huge credit for turning him in.

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peted76 | 8 years ago
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It somehow seems a little worse to me that a young man would consider and take EPO over a more seasoned rider.

 

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tramontane34 | 8 years ago
1 like

A very sad episode when a talented teenager feels compelled to dope.Yes, he is responsible for injecting epo, but where does his motivation come from to do so?

 

 

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CumbrianDynamo | 8 years ago
1 like

I used to live over the road from him. At least now I don't feel so bad about being routinely humiliated on Strava by my 16 year old drug taking neighbour.

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ajed replied to CumbrianDynamo | 8 years ago
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timfearn wrote:

I used to live over the road from him. At least now I don't feel so bad about being routinely humiliated on Strava by my 16 year old drug taking neighbour.

Hi timfearn - I'm looking to contact Gabriel. Would you be able to help me? Please send me an email - alex.dibble [at] talkradio.co.uk Thank you very much, Alex

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boatdrinks | 8 years ago
4 likes

Without wanting to suggest this young man isn’t fully responsible for his own poor choices, I can’t shrug off the idea that someone considerably older and nominally wiser is currently sloping off stage left, whistling innocently while the kick-a-man-down queue forms behind him. Unless, at 18 years of age, Evans is already a practiced hand in the workplace art of written damage limitation masquerading as I-fessed-up-the-moment-you-cold-busted-me contrition, then the fulsome admissions of “his” statement must surely be the product of the same cynical mind that helped him rationalise the decision to opt to cheat in the first place. Then rationalise the decision to acquire the means of cheating. And then rationalise the decision to go through with the act of cheating. Or, in other words, there’s no way this lad wrote his post without significant adult help, same as there’s no way he arrived at the point of needing to do so without the same kind of assistance.

Undoubtedly, he did a considered and calculatedly bad thing for entirely bad motives and needs to face up to all the bad things coming his way in return, but if he’s really smart he’ll out whichever disingenuous trust-abuser it was who facilitated and enabled him into this mess in the first place, because right now that person is leaving him hung out to dry like so much grubby laundry. God forbid it should be a relative …

Like KiwiMike, I’ve no (real or imagined) vested interest in commenting on this story for the good of cycle sport or whatever other supposedly-worthy vehicle I can quickly hitch my opinionated wagon to, but it’s the age of the protagonist in this instance that makes me bothered enough to write in public. My eldest son is 18, and like me at the same age (ahem) he’s a bright and kind lad who’s a continual inch away from becoming a venal conniving twat the moment someone in a position of blind-eyed influence suggests it’s fine to be a venal conniving twat to get what you want. For sure, Gabriel Evans made a huge huge mistake and has earned the opprobrium being visited upon him as a result, but you know he didn’t earn it alone, and anyone thinking about giving him short shrift should give equal consideration to whoever it was that anonymously ushered him down the path of transgression in the first place, because they’d have been happy enough to bask openly in reflected glory if he’d got away with it. See that stone in your hand … where best to throw it, eh?

Either way, it’ a crying shame. Why on the very Earth is a boy taking dope, just to best the other boys? What a sorry state …

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Trackal | 8 years ago
0 likes

Here he is talking about his winter miles

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9YMcG86pnFg

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mithrasm | 8 years ago
2 likes

He is an adult, who cycles competitively and has done for long enough to know the rules. He hunts out illegal performance enhancing drugs to give himself something he felt he was lacking in himself, because he wanted to and he could. He uses these drugs, he gets caught, he cries.

To me it is irrelevant how long he may have used them for, or how contrite he says he is now. He has proved he has the mindset that he can do things that aren't allowed, because he wants to, and it's quicker and easier than doing it the right way.

Of course he should be allowed to cycle again, it's good for him if he stays off the drugs.

He will no doubt have sympathy with any car driver that knocks him off, because he is holding the car up and the driver is late for an important appointment.

He will understand why the "doctor" who treats him makes him worse, because the "doctor" cheated and got someone else to do the exams, because they didn't want to do the necessary hard work themselves. He will also understand why his accountant wasn't actually as honest as he looked and ran off with his money, because stealing it is always easier than making it yourself.

He will of course understand all this because he will recognise that, just like himself, some people think they don't need to follow rules that are there for the good of everyone. He may feel these aren't all directly comparable, but that's just a matter of degree, they are all morally wrong, they may not all be illegal.

Hopefully he will also understand why I feel he should never be allowed to compete in sport again. Of course he can participate, he should be allowed to enjoy everything there is good in sport, apart from one particular detail. He shouldn't be allowed to be recognised in any results.

I am sorry for him, he has spoiled things for himself by his own choices. His value to sport now though is as an example of how you can throw everything away by making selfish and immoral choices.

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doc_davo replied to mithrasm | 8 years ago
0 likes

mithrasm wrote:

 

He will no doubt have sympathy with any car driver that knocks him off, because he is holding the car up and the driver is late for an important appointment.

He will understand why the "doctor" who treats him makes him worse, because the "doctor" cheated and got someone else to do the exams, because they didn't want to do the necessary hard work themselves. He will also understand why his accountant wasn't actually as honest as he looked and ran off with his money, because stealing it is always easier than making it yourself.

He will of course understand all this because he will recognise that, just like himself, some people think they don't need to follow rules that are there for the good of everyone. He may feel these aren't all directly comparable, but that's just a matter of degree, they are all morally wrong, they may not all be illegal.

of course that's one way to look at it but another way would be maybe he will understand the doctor who took methylphenidate to study harder than he needed to to get though his finals

or the dancer who took corticosteroids to get her weight down to secure a place in the Royal ballet

or the guy who takes ephedrine cold medication to stay awake whilst working 18hrs a day

Or the soldier hooked on Sleeping pill to get him through his tour of afghan ... 

 

I'm afraid cheating can be placed or misplaced according to differing cultural context.

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Carton replied to doc_davo | 8 years ago
0 likes

doc_davo wrote:

or the dancer who took corticosteroids to get her weight down to secure a place in the Royal ballet

I think you might be confusing Clenbuterol and Salbutamol, which are inhaled bronchodilators (and "cutting" drugs), with inhaled glucocorticoids like Beclometasone they're often used in cojuction with. Corticosteroids are not a great way to lose weight. Unless you were making a subtextual dig at ballet dancers?

In any case I fail to grasp your point: "cheating can be placed or misplaced according to differing cultural context" ... so? All the instances of "cheating" you stated seem to be not only potentially but actually quite likely dangerous. Are you endorsing them?

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ct | 8 years ago
2 likes

2 things

He used 'going forward'

He used banned drugs

Throw both ukada and business bullshit books at him...big heavy books

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davel | 8 years ago
1 like

So a week after his initial purchase of EPO he gets caught with one of the few vials of it he's ever owned? Maybe, and maybe cycling fans are too cynical these days...

...or maybe that is actually as unlikely as it sounds.

Either way, it presents a sad image of how far PED use has filtered.

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gman2007 | 8 years ago
4 likes

I agree with Welsh Boy....., but I cannot help but notice how honest the apology letter seems.  It just highlighted to me how every other professional athlete's public apology appears like window dressing.

I have hope for this young man - that he might learn from his sins......, unlike the majority of others.

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Welsh boy | 8 years ago
11 likes

Unlike Mike, I blame the rider.  I have no sympathy with any rider who choses to buy drugs and inject them into their body.  That is not an accident, that is a concious decision to cheat and defraud other riders of what is rightfully theirs.  The only answer is a lift time ban from the sport.  I have some sympathy with people who get caught out for things like buying an over the counter asthma medicine in a foreign country which has a slightly different prescription from the one they use back home, that could be a mistake but sticking a needle into your bloodstream can never be anything but a considered decision by an individual regardless of the pressure put on them by parents, coaches or sponsors.

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whobiggs replied to Welsh boy | 8 years ago
0 likes

Unlike Mike, I blame the rider.  I have no sympathy with any rider who choses to buy drugs and inject them into their body.  That is not an accident, that is a concious decision to cheat and defraud other riders of what is rightfully theirs.  The only answer is a lift time ban from the sport.  I have some sympathy with people who get caught out for things like buying an over the counter asthma medicine in a foreign country which has a slightly different prescription from the one they use back home,

 

I agree, anything on the banned list = lifetime ban, any other stuff = suspension. The punishment has to make the crime not worth the risk, it's the only way to stop it.

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KiwiMike | 8 years ago
0 likes

Look, I've never raced seriously all my life.

I've never had to consider the ramifications of not pinning the number 13 upside-down.

I watched Le Tour for years, but never, ever, stood on Dutch Corner.

And as for London Dynamo, I heard of them. Today.

Time-trialling is a foreign planet to me, as I don't live there.

Wnhat I'm trying to say is that I have an opinion.

And the UCI had better come down hard on themselves like a ton of brickbats because someone else is going to. I blame them. The UCI. And the parents.

Sponsors demand I buy their stuff, so I don't feel anything but utter apathy for this young man.

That's my opinion, and anyone who disagrees is likely to not agree with the many who side with me.

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