Coming after indications this week that two time trialists had been implicated in doping, British junior TT champion Gabriel Evans has admitted the use of the blood booster EPO.
Evans’ confession has stunned British cyclists, given that the London Dynamo rider is just 18 years of age. His admission was posted on the Timetrialling forum on Thursday, with the second year junior from London giving details about his case.
“On 3 August 2015 I bought EPO for the first time. On 11 August 2015 I travelled to France for a weeks training camp with the family of a then-teammate,” he wrote. “With me I brought one vial of EPO. This was found by the teammate’s father who presented evidence to UK Anti-Doping.
“UKAD contacted me shortly after to arrange a deposition, in which I promptly admitted to all wrongdoing. I withdrew from the upcoming Junior Tour of Wales, the premier event on the junior calendar.”
That race was held between August 29 – 31. Inexplicably, despite knowing that he would be facing a ban, he continued to race.
“I have competed only one time since buying the drugs; on 5 September 2015 I raced the National Junior 10m TT in which I finished 1st. I did not have this race in mind when I used the drugs; I realise that competing was (another) huge mistake but at the time my intent was not malicious.
“I was hoping to regain some normality and that the whole mess would somehow be swept under the rug. I have now forfeited this title.”
Evans won the London Youth Games Cycling TT in 2013 and took the national junior 25 mile time trial championships one year later.
It is unclear if his EPO usage was the first time he has used products on the banned list.
He apologised to his supporters and to the competitors in the national 10 mile championship for what happened. It is unclear if he has given details to UKAD of how and from whom he bought the banned substance.
“If there is anybody reading this who is considering using PEDs, know that my choice has turned out to be immensely destructive and has seriously affected my personal life for the past four months (and, I’m sure, will continue to do so),” he wrote.
“When each week yields news of another positive test it can be easy to work yourself into a mentality whereby doping can be normalised and justified. In reality it strips all enjoyment out of riding.
“It is immensely damaging not only to your sporting career but also your personal life and it is also very, very dangerous. There is nothing that I would not give to be able to turn back the clock to August 2015 and have that choice again.”
He said that he would train hard during his ban and to return to racing whenever he is cleared to do so.
UKAD has not yet indicated the length of his sanction.
Contaminated syringe claim
Meanwhile those within British cycling are also scratching their heads over the second doping case, albeit for different reasons. On Thursday UKAD said that Richardson-Trek RT rider Andrew Hastings had been banned for four years after testing positive for two anabolic steroids.
These were metenolone, its metabolite and a metabolite of stanozolol.
The test was carried out after his team finished second in the national team time trial championships in Newark, Nottinghamshire on May 30 of this year. The squad has since been disqualified as a result of his doping.
One day later he won the British Cycling 30-39 Masters title.
UKAD has not yet stated if he will lose the latter title but, given that it was achieved a day after his positive test, this can be expected to happen.
The most surprising aspect about the case is his explanation. In a detailed statement released by UKAD, his defence claimed that he had been tired after a training camp abroad last February. He said that he went to a gym on February 17 and decided to give himself a vitamin B12 injection.
According to the UKAD statement, “once he had completed the training session on 17 February he was in the cafe area drinking a protein shake when he joined a conversation involving Mr Collins [the gym owner Steve Collins] and a small group of members.
“He told those present that he had run out of syringes and he wanted to take a Vitamin B12 injection but was unable to do so because he did not have a syringe. One of the persons present is said to have checked his bag and had a used syringe with him. This person then offered the syringe to the Respondent.
“He examined the syringe visually, we are not told in any detail the extent to which the internal area was visible, and whilst it was clear to him that it had been used the Respondent could not see any blood in it so the Respondent concluded that it had not been used intravenously.
“The Respondent does not know the person who provided him with the syringe as he had not met him before, but since the person knew Mr Collins the Respondent considered that the person was someone that he “could trust.”
He said he brought the syringe home with him and injected himself with B12. He claims the source of the steroids must have been that syringe and, as a result, argued that his positive test was due to no fault of his own.
Hastings argued that this should qualify him for a reduced sentence, but his explanation for the test was rejected by UKAD and he was banned for four years.