Doping: Roy Sentjens admits EPO use and retires
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Doping: Roy Sentjens admits EPO use and retires

by Ben Atkins at 3:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Doping
 
Belgian rider will not ask for B-sample analysis

roy sentjensIn a long statement on his personal website Roy Sentjens (Milram) admitted using EPO; the Belgian returned a non-negative sample for the drug in a random control taken on August 16th. In the statement he outlines how he felt driven to it by the pressure to deliver results to support his young family.

“My season was already a disaster,” he explained, “I did everything I could but I didn’t meet up to my own expectations. I couldn’t sleep anymore, thinking all the time how in the hell I could still improve, I did everything. But even that did not help and I fell into a depression.”

His biggest result of the season so far was ninth place in stage 1 of the Österreich-Rundfahrt; with the Milram team looking highly likely to fold at the end of the season, the 29-year-old felt he had to do something.

“I made the biggest mistake of my life,” he said, “I've succumbed to the pressures and expectations that I, and everyone, still had. I wanted a contract; I had a new house, a son, a car and wanted to a start new life. Then I went wrong.

I rushed to my car and drove to Barcelona,” he explained, “parked in the centre, where there were several pharmacists where I might find EPO, and at the second one I had my prize. When I was driving home, I will not tell you everything that went through my head.”

Having taken the drug, the Belgian rode the Tour of Poland, then finished eighth in the Dutch Food Classic and 17th in the GP-Ouest France-Plouay. Between those two races though, he was subjected to a random drug test. The result was announced after the 11th stage of the Vuelta a España and he was removed from the race.

“On August 16 I had a [doping] control,” he said, “I knew right away that it was wrong but could do nothing to stop it. And so on Wednesday, September 8 was the last race of my life.”

Having admitted using the drug, he will obviously not be contesting the test or asking for the b-sample to be analysed. He has also decided to leave the sport, rather than try to make a comeback after his ban is over.

“I hereby therefore definitively put an end to my career as a professional cyclist!” he said. “I will not ask for the b-sample analysis because I know what the outcome of this is.”

“I know a lot of people will be affected and I want to apologize to anyone who believed in me,” he added. “I've done wrong and will suffer the consequences of it.”

He finished by thanking those who have supported him throughout his career.

While he has admitted the use of EPO, he has not specified how much he will be cooperating with anti-doping authorities.

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