Ryder Hesjedal, winner of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, has admitted to doping that took place over ten years ago.
The Canadian cyclist now rides for the Garmin-Sharp team, and insists that he has cleaned up his act.
“More than a decade ago I chose the wrong path,” the 32-year-old was reported of admitting by BBC Sport.
“Even though those mistakes happened more than ten years ago, and they were short-lived, it does not change the fact I made them and I have lived with that and been sorry for it ever since.”
Cycling suffered a huge dent to its reputation last year when Lance Armstrong – formerly a seven-time champion of the Tour de France – was stripped of his titles when it was revealed that he was a long-term drug cheat.
Armstrong and Hesjedal competed for the same team in 2004 and 2005, but the accusations that the latter took drugs refer to his time at Rabobank.
Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen revealed that he showed his former teammate Hesjedal how to take EPO in 2003. Ramussen admitted earlier this year that he took banned substances throughout his 12-year career.
EPO, or Erythropoietin in full, is a performance-enhancing drug, which acts as a blood-booster. It is suspected that EPO was first used in cycling in the early 1990s and it became increasingly widespread.
In 1997, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) tried to ban the substance with a new rule preventing riders testing above 50% haematocrit from racing.
Hesjedal claims that he has not used doping since 2003 though, and now wants to help cycling to clean its name.
“I believe that being truthful will help the sport continue to move forward,” he added.
“Over a year ago when I was contacted by anti-doping authorities, I was open and honest about my past.”
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU