Cycling: Bobby Julich leaves Team Sky over doping past
Former American rider Bobby Julich admitted to doping during the late 1990s when he finished third in the Tour de France, a confession that yesterday forced him to leave as race coach of Team Sky.
The British team asked staff and riders last week to confirm they had no past links to doping as the sport tries to clean up in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.
Julich, who was a team-mate of Armstrong’s at Motorola and Cofidis between 1995 and 1997, came clean last week.
In a letter posted on the Cycling News website, Julich said he used EPO “several times” between August 1996 and July 1998. He said his wife discovered his doping during the 1998 Tour de France when he finished a career-high third.
“Those days were very different from today, but it was not a decision that I reached easily,” Julich said. “I knew that it was wrong, but over those two years, the attitude surrounding the use of EPO in the peloton was so casual and accepted that I personally lost perspective of the gravity of the situation.”
Julich said he was not doping at the time of his third place in the time trial at the 2004 Athens Olympics. In August, the IOC upgraded him from bronze to silver when American team-mate Tyler Hamilton was stripped of his gold after admitting to doping.
“There were times that I was tempted to return to the dark side, but after some difficult years, I stopped thinking about what others were doing and focused on my own performance and enjoyment in the sport,” Julich said. “Most importantly, I proved to myself that it is possible to compete clean and I came back with solid, clean results that I am extremely proud of.”
Julich is the latest cyclist to admit to doping as the sport comes to terms with the US Anti-Doping Agency report that led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in what it called the biggest drug scandal in sport. Julich is leaving his job at Team Sky after two seasons.
“Bobby has shown courage in admitting to the errors he made long before his time with Team Sky,” team leader Dave Brailsford said. “We understand that this is a difficult step for him and we’ve done our best to support him.
“We’ve made clear our commitment to being a clean team and been open about the steps we’re taking. Although it’s never easy to part, we believe this is the right thing to do.”
Julich, who won the Paris-Nice stage race in 2005, hopes to stay in the sport. “I apologise to everyone, especially those associated with Team Sky for my past indiscretions,” he said.
“I made some poor decisions and have paid and will pay a huge price. I am taking responsibility, at the expense of not being able to finish what I started, with some of the best people that I have ever been associated with. To this new generation of young riders; I hope you will learn from the past and avoid the mistakes many of us have made. It is up to your generation to insure the issues of the past do not affect your future. I’m truly sorry you all are dealing with something you had no part in creating.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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