British junior national time trial champion, Gabriel Evans, has admitted to taking Erythropoietin (EPO), the banned blood booster.
The development is a worrying reminder of this year's controversial independent report on doping cycling that warned that use of performance enhancing drugs at amateur level was becoming endemic because of the ease of access to drugs via gyms and the internet, the reduction in costs for substances, a spread of knowledge in means and methods of administration, and a lack of funding for regular testing at the amateur level.
The 18-year-old Evans won the National Junior 10-mile time trial in September. The second year junior who rode with London Dynamo and the semi-pro team CatfordCC Equipe/Banks this year has since forfeited the title and been dismissed by both clubs.
In a statement, Evans claimed that he thought doping was "normalized and justified" after he read that other riders were caught on a regular basis. Evans added he watched the BBC Panorama documentary [Catch Me If You Can] and there was certainly an element of curiosity and added there were many factors at play and everything was bit of a mess. The British junior national time trial champion confessed he bought Erythropoietin “for the first time” on August 3 this year and took an EPO vial with him on a training camp in France the same month to visit a former teammate's family.
Evans disclosed in the statement that the EPO vial was found by father of the former teammate who presented evidence to UK Anti-Doping. The rider claimed the anti-doping organization contacted him shortly for arranging a deposition in which he promptly admitted to all wrongdoing. Evans added he withdrew from the Junior Tour of Wales, the premier event on the junior calendar. However, Evans rejoined London Dynamo to compete in the National Junior 10 TT in September despite the ongoing investigation and commented he was extremely sorry to done that. In the statement, Evans also warned others of the dangers of doping. The 18-year-old Evans said if there is anybody reading this who is considering using performance enhancing drugs, they should remember that his choice has turned out to be immensely destructive and has seriously affected his personal life for the past four months.
In a statement, London Dynamo chair Paul Harknett said Evans' doping case has brought a sad day for us at London Dynamo and the club only found out about Gabriel being caught with EPO in August, this weekend. Harknett added British Cycling and the UK Anti-Doping Agency are taking formal action against Gabriel and we expect details of his drug taking and the sanctions to be imposed to emerge in the near future. The London Dynamo chair added Gabriel assured us that he acted alone and sourced the drugs himself and added that London Dynamo has a zero tolerance approach to doping and as such Gabriel's membership has since been terminated.
In another development, British Masters champion Andrew Hastings was banned by UK Anti-Doping for four years for using anabolic steroids - Metenolone, its metabolite and a metabolite of Stanozolol - in May during a team time-trial competition.