Former pro-cyclist and now directeur sportif at Garmin-Sharp, Andreas Klier, has today accepted a sanction from USADA for doping during his career.
The punishment includes a six-month suspension beginning on 12 August 2013, as well as disqualification and forfeiture from all competitions, medals and wins that occured on 21 July 2005 (due to eight year statute of limitations) and at any point after.
The news comes as USADA continues its investigation into cycling’s doping past and though Klier has recieved punishment, he was praised for his willingness to provide vital information in the continuing fight for clean cycling.
“[We] appreciate Mr. Klier’s willingness to provide full and truthful testimony about the culture of drug use in cycling,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “Our investigation into the sport of cycling is ongoing, and we will continue to fight for the rights of all athletes who want to have the full truth revealed so that the sport can finally move forward toward a truly clean future,” he added.
Klier, now 37, who retired in 2013, will lose a host of impressive results including a stage win at the Vuelta a Espana 2007. The former rider admitted using banned substances including EPO, human growth hormone and cortisone, as well as the use of blood transfusion, from 1999-2006.
In a statement, released shortly after the announcement was made, Klier said: “I have been involved in professional cycling for 17 years, and for those 17 years cycling has been my life. Some of my best memories and moments happened on my bike, and some of my worst too. Along the road to the top of the sport, many years ago, I chose the wrong path, and I have been very sorry for it ever since. To everyone both in and out of cycling including my family, the fans, the sponsors, the sport I love, my peers, – especially those who made the right choices – I am deeply sorry.”
“I stopped what I was doing and started competing clean well before I ever joined Slipstream, but I am proud today to be a part of an organization that makes racing clean its only priority. In my heart and my mind I know that telling the truth about my past to the proper authorities is the right thing to do to continue to help the sport I love move forward. I accept responsibility for the mistakes I made in my past and the punishment that comes along with them.”
After retiring in 2013, Klier took up a managerial role at pro team Garmin-Sharp, who have made little secret of their quest to make cycling clean. Having seen three riders, including Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson, and Dave Zabriskie, sanctioned for doping offences last year, Klier becomes the latest member of the team to admit to his past indiscretions.
In response, Slipstream Sports, who manage the team, issued this statement: “Slipstream Sports was created because we wanted to build a team where cyclists could compete 100% clean. We understood cycling’s history and we wanted to create a different environment for riders where they did not have to make the difficult choices of the past. We support Andreas for telling the truth about his past, a past that pre-dates Slipstream Sports by years, and accepting the consequences that come along with it.”
“Nothing can erase what happened in cycling’s history, but we can learn from it. We can look at the crop of young athletes coming up not just on our team but on other teams and have confidence that the future of the sport is here. Cycling has never been cleaner and we will work, every day, to help it continue to progress.”