Gabriel Evans, the 2015 National Junior 10-mile Time Trial champion, has been banned from cycling for three years and six months after admitting using EPO, it has been revealed.
The ban was imposed by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) in a decision dated 18 December 2015, but has only been made public now after an appeal by the 19-year-old to have it reduced was rejected.
Earlier in December, Evans, who rode for Catford CC-Equipe Banks last year, admitted using the banned substance in a detailed post (since removed) to Timetriallingforum.co.uk.
> Junior time trial champ admits EPO use
In August, while he was on a training camp in France, the father of a team mate became suspicious after discovering a vial hidden in the fridge.
He placed a Go Pro camera inside, which recorded Evans retrieving the vial. When confronted, the then 18-year-old claimed initially that he was diabetic and it was insulin, then said it was testosterone.
Later that month he competed in - and won - the Junior National 10-mile Time Trial championship.
The team-mate’s father had by then reported the issue to UK Anti-Doping, which interviewed Evans in September, where he admitted it was EPO and claimed he was not looking to gain an illegal competitive advantage, but was motivated instead by “curiosity really, experimenting.”
As a result of his admission and what it described as his “relative immaturity,” UKAD reduced the length of Evans’ ban, which runs from 18 October 2015, from four years to three years and six months, a sanctioned now confirmed following his unsuccessful appeal.
In a statement published today, UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said: “Here is a young man at the start of his sporting career whose decision to intentionally cheat has significantly impacted that career before it has really begun.
“Evans clearly acted intentionally when he decided to purchase and use EPO. However, doping is not a straightforward decision and every person’s motivations are different. Some do it for money, some do it to win. Some do it because they are curious and have seen others doing it.
“It is therefore absolutely correct that every case is treated individually, and in this case that the sanction was reduced by six months to reflect that, as a young man of 18 at the time he committed the violations, Evans’ decision-making skills were impacted by his relative immaturity.”
She added that the case also underlined “the important role that support staff play in protecting athletes.”
Sapstead said: “I thank the person who came forward with information and evidence of doping. By doing so, they have called out wrong-doing and safeguarded the welfare of a young athlete.
“Support staff, coaches and parents must all help their athletes to make informed decisions to maximise performance in the right way. They also have a duty of care to protect athletes, and their sport, by talking to us in confidence if they know of someone contravening the anti-doping rules and the spirit of sport.”
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