Second major Australian scalp to fall .... the Lance Armstrong downfall is gaining a LOT of momentum. Cycling Australia vice-president Stephen Hodge says he took performance-enhancing drugs for six seasons to avoid being dropped for the world's biggest races.
In another bombshell for Australian cycling in the wake of the
Lance Armstrong drug scandal, Hodge confessed to using blood-boosting EPO and
other substances ifrom 1989 until his retirement in 1996.
HODGE'S RESIGNATION LETTER BELOW.
made the decision to take drugs at the end of 1989," he said.
EPO was the drug of choice. There were other things like cortisone, as far as I
said he used the drugs to ensure selection in the sport's three grand tours -
the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Spain - with the notorious
ONCE and Festina teams.
became obvious to me that if I wanted to stay competitive and be selected to do
all the big races, I had to participate in a team doping program.
was no overt pressure from the team, but I was worried that I would not be
Olympian at the Atlanta Games in 1996 - when he was still using banned
substances - Hodge contested six Tours de France and rode the Giro and Tour of
Spain four times each.
raced in Europe for almost 10 years and has held several high-ranking positions
in Australian cycling since retiring.
He is the second Australian casualty stemming from the US Anti-Doping Agency
report into Armstrong’s alleged cheating.
White, CA’s national coordinator and Olympic selector, resigned this week.
CA president Klaus Mueller said: "In light of the current
circumstances Stephen has made it clear he doesn't want a mistake he made two
decades ago to affect the work of Cycling Australia to take the sport
turned professional in 1987 and raced in the European peloton up until his
retirement at the end of 1996.
He began his tenure on the board as the Chair of the Athlete's Commission in
At the 2007 Annual General Meeting Mr Hodge was elected Vice President of the
Board, a position he has held since that time.
"I would like to personally thank Stephen for his immense contribution to
the sport in a volunteer capacity," Mueller said.
"When his professional cycling career ended he became a tireless worker
for the sport and for almost 15 years has freely given up his time as an
advocate for the rights of athletes and to promote and develop the sport in
"At all times while Stephen was on the Board with me he acted with high
principle and great integrity and has been a staunch opponent of doping.
"I commend him for his decision to speak out."
HODGE'S FULL LETTER:
"Dear CA Board and CA members,
I am writing to tender my resignation as a Cycling Australia (CA) Director
Prior to the CA Board meeting on the 16 October 2012 I advised Graham
Fredericks and Klaus Mueller that during a stage of my career as a professional
cyclist I took performance enhancing drugs—a decision I am not proud of.
I am sorry I did it. It was wrong. I apologise unreservedly to CA, my
family, friends, colleagues and cycling fans.
When I made Graham and Klaus aware of my situation I offered to resign. It
was agreed that I would immediately stand aside from all CA Board duties in
advance of submitting a formal resignation. At no point have I been involved in
any CA Board meetings or discussions in relation to the termination of Matt
During my time on the CA Board, I have shared CA's strong commitment to the
fight against doping. I believe other cyclists should never have to face the
same pressures I did during my professional career.
I would also like to believe that in my 13 years as a director of CA I have
been able to make a valuable contribution in this regard, as well as helping to
encourage the growth and strength of cycling as a sport in Australia.
I am proud to have been associated with this work and believe cycling has
come a long way—and in fact has led the way in many instances.
It goes without saying that these are challenging times for cycling. But I
feel more hopeful than ever for the future of a sport I love
It has been a privilege to serve on the Board and I am grateful for the
time and opportunity of working with you all. I wish CA every success.
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