Ryder Hesjedal, the first Canadian to clinch a Grand Tour cycling title, has joined Lance Armstrong in becoming yet another accomplished cyclist who succumbed to performance-enhancing drugs.
Hesjedal, who won the 2012 Giro d’Italia, confessed Wednesday that he chose “the wrong path” more than 10 years ago. The admission comes on the heels of a revelation by Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen, who declares in his upcoming book, that he showed Hesjedal how to administer banned substances in 2003.
Since the period for the allegations is beyond the eight-year statute of limitations set by the World Anti-Doping Agency, it’s not clear yet whether Hesjedal will face any disciplinary action. A three-time Olympian (he has represented Canada at the last three Summer Olympics), Hesjedal, claims his doping was short-lived. Unfortunately the damage has been done, and he joins the ranks of other infamous dopers who have tainted their sport.
It’s especially unfortunate given that he has been a prominent ambassador for cycling in Canada, and his successes have brought increased recognition for the sport.
A redeeming factor in this situation is that at least he’s being forthright about the allegations. He is cooperating with the USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) and the CCES (Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport). When approached by these agencies last year, he was apparently truthful in his testimony.
Hesjedal’s team, Garmin-Sharp, has stated their support for him, given he has been honest with the governing authorities. Will Canadians be as sympathetic?