Canadian cyclist admits doping

Canada’s top cycling star, Ryder Hesjedal, has admitted to mistakes after he was accused of using banned drugs by former Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen. It was claimed by Rasmussen in his new book Yellow Fever that he taught Hesjedal how to take EPO.

According to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, Hesjedal would not face any penalties because the offence occurred outside the limitation period. It however remarked that is disappointed that Hesjedal waited more than a decade to publicly disclose his past involvement in doping and added his conduct has deprived many clean Canadian athletes from the opportunity to shine in the sport of cycling.

Rasmussen, in his newly released autobiography, disclosed that he taught Hesjedal and two other Canadian mountain bikers, Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard, how to use erythropoietin when they stayed at his house for two weeks in August of 2003. The Danish cyclist claims that all achieved great results after they left his place.

A champion rider who switched from mountain bike racing to road racing after the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Hesjedal finished second at the 2003 world mountain biking championships. He was on the verge of winning gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens had he not suffered a punctured tire in the mountain biking category, claims Rasmussen. Hesjedal won the Giro d’Italia in 2012 and won the Lionel Conacher Award as The Canadian Press male athlete of the year for the achievement.

The 32-year-old Victoria native Hesjedal said he accepts responsibility for those mistakes and remarked he will always be sorry. He went on to add that he was open and honest about his past when contacted by anti-doping authorities more than a year ago. Hesjedal’s management team said the cyclist would not speak to the media as an investigation is ongoing.

After his public admission, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) confirmed that they interviewed the cyclist earlier this year as part of an investigation into doping in Canadian cycling.

Hesjedal won’t be punished as the World Anti-Doping Code has an eight-year statute of limitations, the CCES said. It added that the Center does not disclose information as it gathers intelligence about what is going on in the sport community. According to a statement by USADA, Travis Tygart, CEO of the USADA, said that in the past discipline and sanctions have been announced where there is actionable evidence of doping within the statute of limitations. Tygart added athletes like him and others, who have voluntarily come in, taken accountability for their actions and have been fully truthful, are essential to securing a brighter future for the sport of cycling.

Jonathan Vaughters, a former professional racing cyclist and general manager and CEO of Slipstream Sports, said Ryder was completely open and honest and transparent with USADA and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, so we’ve known about this for a while. Vaughters added he is satisfied that the Canada’s top cycling star is clean and has been clean for years.

The national body that organizes and promotes cycling in Canada, Cycling Canada, issued a statement that it was shocked and saddened to learn that Ryder Hesjedal was involved in doping over a decade ago.

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