Stuart O'Grady admits to doping at 1998 Tour de Francehttp://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/c ... 6684674623
STUART O'Grady, one of Australia's most decorated road and track cyclists, last night confirmed he had taken illicit drugs while competing at the Tour de France.
One day after announcing he had retired after having led the Orica-GreenEdge team into Paris, having watched team-mates Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey wear the yellow jersey, and winning the team time trial in Nice, the 39-year-old O'Grady was named by a French senate inquiry as one of 83 athletes to have returned positive or, in his case, "suspicious" blood readings from the 1998 Tour after having samples re-tested by the anti-doping authorities.
"I made a decision," he said. "I sourced it (EPO) myself, there was no else involved, it didn't involve the team in any way," O'Grady told News Corp journalist and Adelaide-based biographer, Reece Homfray.
"I just had to drive over the border and buy it at any pharmacy. The hardest part of all this is I did two weeks before the Tour de France."
A six-time Olympian and world champion on the track, O'Grady also revealed he had got rid of the doping product once police raided the Festina team's hotel during the race.
O'Grady, who has worn the yellow jersey and also finished runner-up in the green jersey multiple times, also confessed of his doping past to his parents, Brian and Faye, who were on the Champs Elysees in Paris on Sunday night to cheer home their son and the team.
"It wasn't systemic doping, I wasn't out to deceive people," he told Homfray.
"There is nothing more to hide, I have done everything since then on natural ability and when people ask: 'Why are you still racing?' I guess part of me deep down is to prove that you can do the Tour clean, win Olympic gold medals clean."
Among the riders found by the French senate anti-doping probe to have tested positive and in some cases more than once at the 1998 tour included the late Marco Pantani and Jan Ullrich.
Pantani and Ullrich finished first and second on the podium.
Pantani died of cocaine poisoning in 2004, while Ullrich has come forward and admitted his guilt.
This latest probe comes some eight months after the US Anti-Doping Authority found that seven-time winner Lance Armstrong had systemically doped throughout his career.
Tour de France organisers have since stripped Armstrong of his seven victories between 1999 and 2005.
The untitled O'Grady autobiography is slated to be in bookshops this November.
O'Grady declined to be interviewed when contacted by phone by The Australian, while neither Orica-GreenEdge team general manager Shayne Bannan nor media director Brian Nygaard returned phone calls.