U23 silver medalist Szczepaniak attempts suicide following EPO positive
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Monday, March 15, 2010

U23 silver medalist Szczepaniak attempts suicide following EPO positive

by VeloNation Press at 8:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Polish under-23 World Championship silver medalist Kacper Szczepaniak has attempted suicide following the announcement late last week of a positive doping control for EPO.

According to Sportwereld, Kacper's brother Pawel, who also tested positive for the substance after winning the gold medal at worlds, confirmed the news. Apparently Kacper's father was able to overpower the promising young 19-year-old's desperate act.

The two brothers dominated the World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic, at the end of January. The biggest surprise of the day being that pre-race favorite, Tom Meeusen of Belgium, ended the day without a medal in fourth place. Meeusen had dominated most races in the U23 category this winter.

Telenet-Fidea Manager Hans Van Kasteren told Sportwereld that he has learned from reliable sources that the two brothers were prompted to dope by a Polish coach.

"They took drugs at the invitation of a Polish coach. I am currently finding out who the man is. To dope themselves is bad, but I can understand that the brothers felt the pressure. Their father has a monthly salary in Poland of around 250 euros, while Kacpers silver alone earned him 2,500 euros in prize money.

"And so we're not talking about his salary from the team or the reasonably large initial money that can be asked with a World Champion medal around his neck," explained Hans Van Kasteren to Sportwereld.

20-year-old Pawel recently signed for the Belgian Telenet-Fidea team to join his older brother, current senior World champion Zdenek Stybar and two-time World champion Bart Wellens.

This was the first time that Poland had won a Cyclocross World Championship medal at any level.

If the positive test is confirmed, the brothers will be stripped of their medals. In this event the new under-23 champion would be current bronze medallist Arnaud Jouffroy of France, who finished just one second behind Kacper. World Cup winner Tom Meussen of Belgium, who was a surprise non-medallist having been so dominant all season, would be awarded the silver.

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