Cycling

Disgraced Australian cycling star to keep low profile

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O'Grady admitted to doping last year (©GettyImages)
O'Grady admitted to doping last year (©GettyImages).

Former Australian cyclist Stuart O'Grady will be in his home city of Adelaide for the Tour Down Under next week but his return will not be celebrated.

O'Grady retired from professional cycling after the Tour de France last year to what seemed like normal circumstances but the rider confessed to doping earlier in his road career.

It is reported that he took the blood booster EPO but he insists he only took it once in 1998.

The Australian won the Tour Down Under twice in his career, firstly in 1999 which was the tours first appearance and then again in 2001. At this stage in his career he was riding for Credit Agricole.

O'Grady was a hero in his home city but when he returns for the tour his reception will probably be a bad one.

The man from Adelaide is set to be an important figure at a charity dinner in his Adelaide on Friday but it will be the first time he has publicly spoken since he confessed to doping.

Race director Mike Turtur, who has known O'Grady for 30 years insists he just wants to put on the race, reports Sports fan.

Turtur said: "That's the way these types of matters are dealt with, isn't it.

"You're damned if you do and you're damned it you don't.

"If we still acknowledged his career, we would be criticised and attacked.

"Then there will be some people who say okay, he made a mistake - give him a break for all the good he's done.

"At the end of the day, we're here just to put on the race.

"He has no official role with the Tour, so if he comes to the race I will shake his hand ... if he chooses not to come to the race, it will be his choice. 

"We have no issue, we have no plans."

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Topics:
Tour De France
Cycling
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