Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson and David Zabriskie, all current members of the Garmin-Sharp cycling team, have admitted to doping during their careers.
The trio of veteran riders all released statements Oct. 10 hours after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released its statement that 11 riders, including the three Garmin-Sharp cyclists, are among more than two-dozen witnesses who have testified against Lance Armstrong in USADA’s long and involved doping case against the seven-time Tour de France winner.
None of the three riders cited Armstrong nor the U.S. Postal Service, the title sponsor during six of the seven teams that employed Armstrong during his seven-year Tour de France reign. But the trio of riders, all of whom were Armstrong’s teammates during for some of those seven years, released statements confirming their doping use.
George Hincapie, the recently retired rider for BMC who rode as Armstrong’s teammate in all of his Tour de France wins, and Michael Barry, who also recently retired after three seasons with Sky, have released statements admitting their doping practices early in their respective careers.
In part, here are the Garmin-Sharp riders’ statements:
Tom Danielson: ” . . . After years of doing things the right way, I was presented with a choice that to me, did not feel like a choice at all. In the environment that I was in, it felt like something I had to do in order to continue following my dream. I crossed the line and that is something I will always be sorry for. I accept responsibility for my choices and apologize to everyone in my life for them – in and out of the sport.”
Christian Vande Velde: ” . . . 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 . . . ”
David Zabriskie: ” . . . After distinguishing myself in an important race, management presented me with drugs and instructed me on how to proceed. I was devastated. I was shocked. I had never used drugs and never intended to. I questioned, I resisted, but in the end, I felt cornered and succumbed to the pressure.
“After one week I stopped. I subsequently succumbed in less than a handful of confined instances never making it a systematic part of my training practices or race routines. But it happened and I couldn’t be sorrier. It was a violation – a violation not only of the code I was subject to, but my personal and moral compass that I had set out to follow.”
There are conflicting reports how the three riders will be sanctioned.