Lemont Cyclist Christian Vande Velde Admits to Doping, Faces 6-Month Ban
Vande Velde was among 11 formers teammates of Lance Armstrong who admitted to using banned substances during an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Lemont cyclist Christian Vande Velde is one of 11 former teammates of Lance Armstrong who admitted to doping during testimony under oath, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced Wednesday.
Vande Velde, 36, testified Sept. 25 that he regularly used testosterone and the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO)—both banned substances—from 1999 through 2005, when he was a member of the U.S. Postal team. He also admitted to receiving injections of human growth hormone (hGH) and a banned corticosteroid, according to the Chicago Tribune.
He received a six-month ban—retroactive to Sept. 1—because he cooperated with investigators, according to the Tribune. The minimum ban for doping is typically two years.
Vande Velde was forced to disqualify all results from June 2004 through April 2006, according to the report. He also agreed not to accept a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.
The names of the 11 riders who admitted to doping were revealed by the USADA on Wednesday, along with details about its decision to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and ban him for life from all events governed by the World Anti-Doping Code.
Vande Velde, who was part of Armstrong's winning U.S. Postal Service team in 1999, released a statement on his website following the announcement:
"I love cycling, it is and always has been a huge part of who I am. As the son of a track cycling Olympian I was practically born on the bike and my dream, ever since I can remember, was always to be a professional cyclist. I have failed and I have succeeded in one of the most humbling sports in the world. And today is the most humbling moment of my life.
As a young pro rider I competed drug free, not winning but holding my own and achieving decent results. Then, one day, I was presented with a choice that to me, at the time, seemed like the only way to continue to follow my dream at the highest level of the sport. I gave in and crossed the line, a decision that I deeply regret. I was wrong to think I didn’t have a choice—the fact is that I did, and I chose wrong. I won races before doping and after doping. Ironically, I never won while doping, I was more or less just treading water. This does not make it OK. I saw the line and I crossed it, myself. I am deeply sorry for the decisions I made in the past—to my family, my fans, my peers, to the sport that I love and those in and out of —I’m sorry. I always will be."
Vande Velde left the U.S. Postal team in 2003, and went on to complete the Tour de France seven more times. He finished fourth in 2008 and eighth in 2009, and earned the team classification title in 2011 with Team Garmin-Cervelo.
"Today, I am proud of the steps that I and cycling have have made to improve the future of the sport that I love so much," Vande Velde said in the release. "I am proud to be a part of an organization that implemented a no-needle policy ... I continue to be proud of the strides the sport has taken to clean itself up, and the actions our organization has taken to help shape the sport that I love."
"It is not easy to admit your mistakes and accept your punishment. But that is what these riders have done for the good of the sport, and for the young riders who hope to one day reach their dreams without using dangerous drugs or methods," USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said in the release.
Vande Velde closed his statement by asking his family, friends and fans for forgiveness.
"I’m very sorry for the mistakes I made in my past and I know that forgiveness is a lot to ask for," Vande Velde said. I know that I have to earn it and I will try, every day, to deserve it—as I have, every day, since making the choice to compete clean. I will never give up on this sport, and I will never stop fighting for its future."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
There are plenty of ways to keep up on Lemont news: