tisdag 18 november 2008

"First and foremost I am a doper"

Cyclist relates how doping damaged his career, life 11/17/2008 9:20:26 AM By Sarah Doty Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

On May 29, 2005, Canadian mountain biker Chris Sheppard injected recombinant erythropoietin (rEPO) for the first time.
The next day, at 7:30 a.m., the Canadian Centre For Ethics In Sport (CCES) knocked on his door for an out-of-competition random drug test. EPO is a drug that builds endurance by boosting the amount of oxygen-rich red blood cells. His career was permanently tainted.
Sheppard was in Rochester Saturday to share his story with Sports Medicine professionals at the 18th annual Symposium on Sports Medicine. "First and foremost I am a doper," said Sheppard in his presentation. "Before being caught using EPO I was addicted to one substance: cycling. I am not here to give you excuses for what I did, but maybe to shed some light on why I made that fateful decision that will be with me to my grave." The 10-time Canadian National Team mountain bike racer had been racing clean for 17 years before an accident on July 27, 2004 -- a truck that ran a stop sign and hit him -- left him with a concussion, whiplash, severe lingering back pain, and depression. "The worst part about this injury was it extends past racing and touches every part of life," Sheppard said. "For many years cycling was a way to get away from it all," he said. But after his accident, and an injury-plagued six years, he just couldn't snap out of his depression."Cycling is a tough sport and after 17 years of racing clean and pointing the finger, I gave up during hard times," Sheppard said. "In my head, I wanted what was taken away from me."Instead, he got a two-year suspension, loss of sponsors and friends, and a permanent ineligibility of receiving funding from the Canadian Federal Government as punishment for doping."In a way it was almost relieving, and funny," he said about getting caught. "With all the bad luck I had had (the previous) six years, it seemed like I was tempting fate."

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