Saturday 18 November 2017

Cycling: Stuart O'Grady resignation demanded after doping revelations

Former Australian cyclist, Stuart O'Grady has admitted to doping during the 1998 Tour de France
Former Australian cyclist, Stuart O'Grady has admitted to doping during the 1998 Tour de France

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has called on cyclist Stuart O'Grady to resign from their Athletes' Commission after he admitted to cheating.

O'Grady confessed yesterday that he took the drug erythropoietin, commonly known as EPO, before the 1998 Tour de France, following revelations the 39-year-old had been named in a French senate inquiry into performance-enhancing drugs.

The French inquiry revealed results of blood samples taken during the 1998 Tour, which were re-tested in 2004 for traces of EPO, and O'Grady was named as a cyclist who returned a suspicious result.

While O'Grady claims he never cheated again, AOC president John Coates believes his position on the Athletes' Commission is untenable.

"Members of our London Olympic Team who elected Stuart to the Athletes' Commission are entitled to be angry knowing they had supported an athlete who had cheated," Coates said.

"Athletes' Commission members are chosen for their qualities of integrity and leadership and by his admission Stuart does not deserve to be a member of that group."

O'Grady is widely considered one of Australia's most successful cyclists having become the first Australian to win one of the sport's Classics when he claimed the Paris-Roubaix crown in 2007 and won an Olympic gold medal in the Madison in 2004, while he is one of only two cyclists in the world to race the Tour de France 17 times.

Cycling Australia (CA) CEO Graham Fredericks has argued the pressure involved in professional cycling in the 1990s cannot be underestimated in an effort to take some of the blame off O'Grady, who retired after this year's Tour on Sunday.

"Stuart has been one of Australia's most enduring road riders who appears to have made a poor decision, which will regrettably now have an impact on the legacy of his career," Fredericks said.

"The late 1990s was clearly a dark period in cycling's international history.

"Athletes transitioning from the strict anti-doping regimes enforced under the domestic CA/AIS programs were faced with a very different environment when they landed in Europe."

Press Association

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