Michael Barry says he was encouraged by the US Postal Team to dope, regrets choice
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Michael Barry says he was encouraged by the US Postal Team to dope, regrets choice

by Shane Stokes at 1:28 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Canadian states he competed clean for past six years

MIchael BarryThe retiring pro rider Michael Barry has joined his former US Postal Service team-mate George Hincapie today in admitting for the first time that he doped during a phase of his career. The Canadian said he started using performance enhancing substances at some point after he joined the team in 2002, and continued until 2006.

In a statement issued today after the US Anti Doping Agency confirmed he was one of 26 witnesses, he said that he faced pressure from the team to use doping products.

“I achieved my goal [of turning pro] when I first signed a contract with the United States Postal Service Cycling team in 2002. Soon after I realized reality was not what I had dreamed. Doping had become an epidemic problem in professional cycling,” he stated.

“After being encouraged by the team, pressured to perform and pushed to my physical limits I crossed a line I promised myself and others I would not: I doped. It was a decision I deeply regret. It caused me sleepless nights, took the fun out of cycling and racing, and tainted the success I achieved at the time. This was not how I wanted to live or race.”

Barry competed between 1999 and 2001 with the Saturn team, then spent five years with the US Postal Service team. He moved to T-Mobile/HTC Highroad in 2007 and remained there until the end of 2009, then completed his career with the Sky team before retiring towards the end of this season.

He was implicated by Floyd Landis when the latter confessed in 2010, and denied the accusations at the time. Today’s admission is an about-turn, although he said that he changed his stance a lot earlier.

“After the summer of 2006, I never doped again and became a proponent of clean cycling through my writing and interviews,” he said.

“From 2006 until the end of my career in 2012, I chose to race for teams that took a strong stance against doping. Although I never confessed to my past, I wrote and spoke about the need for change. Cycling is now a cleaner sport, many teams have adopted anti-doping policies and most importantly I know a clean rider can now win at the highest level.”

Barry said that he apologized for his actions and would accept whatever consequences follow. He said that his goal is to help ensure the sport is a cleaner one going forward.

Given that he is retiring this month, a ban will have limited effect. His cooperation plus the fact that it is a first offence means that any sanction is likely to be less than a year; under the WADA Code, he and the other riders who testified could be officially sanctioned for six months.

He will lose his results during the period he doped; the precise starting point is unknown, but his best individual performances with the team were being fourth overall in the 2003 Tour of Georgia, seventh in that year’s world road race championships, and a stage win plus sixth overall in the 2005 Tour of Austria.

Also see:

Armstrong case: USADA confirms reasoned decision sent to UCI and WADA, over 1000 pages of evidence

Hincapie admits doping until 2006, says he agreed to give evidence in Armstrong investigation


Note: More details will follow later today on USADA’s evidence in relation to the Armstrong and US Postal Service cases


Barry’s statement is as follows:


Cycling has always been a part of my life. As a boy my dream was to become a professional cyclist who raced at the highest level in Europe. I achieved my goal when I first signed a contract with the United States Postal Service Cycling team in 2002. Soon after I realized reality was not what I had dreamed. Doping had become an epidemic problem in professional cycling.

Recently, I was contacted by United States Anti-Doping Agency to testify in their investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs on the United States Postal Service Team. I agreed to participate as it allowed me to explain my experiences, which I believe will help improve the sport for today's youth who aspire to be tomorrow's champions.

After being encouraged by the team, pressured to perform and pushed to my physical limits I crossed a line I promised myself and others I would not: I doped. It was a decision I deeply regret. It caused me sleepless nights, took the fun out of cycling and racing, and tainted the success I achieved at the time. This was not how I wanted to live or race.

After the summer of 2006, I never doped again and became a proponent of clean cycling through my writing and interviews.

From 2006 until the end of my career in 2012, I chose to race for teams that took a strong stance against doping. Although I never confessed to my past, I wrote and spoke about the need for change. Cycling is now a cleaner sport, many teams have adopted anti-doping policies and most importantly I know a clean rider can now win at the highest level.

I apologize to those I deceived. I will accept my suspension and any other consequences. I will work hard to regain people's trust.

The lessons I learned through my experiences have been valuable. My goal now is to help turn the sport into a place where riders are not tempted to dope, have coaches who they can trust, race on teams that nurture talent and have doctors who are concerned for their health. From direct experience, I know there are already teams doing this but it needs to be universal throughout cycling.

Progressive change is occurring. My hope is that this case will further that evolution.

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