Steven de Jongh has written an open letter detailing more information about the times he used EPO as a rider.



Earlier today Team Sky announced that de Jongh would leave the team as it continues to strictly adhere to it’s ‘no association to doping’ policy that it launched under at the end of 2009.



Sports Director De Jongh is the latest member or staff to leave the team after Sean Yates (Head Sports Director) who announced his retirement yesterday and Bobby Julich (Race Coach) who last week admitted to doping when he was a rider.

Canadian Michael Barry had already announced his retirement when his name was released in USADA’s files while Dutch Doctor Geert Leinders left the team earlier in the year.

Steven de Jongh writes:



This is a hard thing to talk about, but I’d like to tell the truth about my experience of doping.



I’ve been shocked by the stories and rumours of organised doping programmes because I’ve simply never seen anything like that.



My experience was very different. My doping was done by me, and nobody ever forced me. Of course, I always knew it was wrong and was scared of the risks I was taking. And I will always regret what I did.



I took EPO on a few occasions from 1998 to 2000. It was very easy to get hold of and I knew it couldn’t be detected. I was a fairly young rider, the opportunity was there right in front of me and it was a pretty big challenge to stay away from the temptation. There was no pressure at all from my team, the Directors or the Doctors to take it. This was my choice.



I stopped because it was wrong and it wasn’t worth the risks – to my health, to the family I wanted, or of getting caught. The years after I’d stopped doping were sometimes hard. But cycling was slowly getting better and I managed to win races clean. I think the ‘whereabouts system’ and biological passport were great things for this sport.



I’ve always believed that everyone should take responsibility for their own decisions and it’s easy to see that I made entirely the wrong ones in the past. I made my biggest mistakes a long time ago but I need to admit this so I can move on. I want to stay in this sport but I know that it can’t be with Team Sky. It’s sad to be leaving but there’s no other option.



I’ve learned a lot at Team Sky and have great people around me. We came into the sport with big ambitions, and I’m proud I was part of building this team. It’s hard to let go but after three amazing years I don’t want a price to be paid later, by me or the team. I don’t want to let these people down.



The discussions going on in Team Sky have given me the chance to be honest about all this. Some might think I could have kept quiet, but this is a good chance for me to talk openly, the best moment to admit my mistakes. It’s time to talk.



I love this sport and it has been a huge part of my life. With the steps we’ve been taking in cycling there is a better chance than ever to compete in a clean sport. I’m certainly committed to that and everybody I’ve worked with can assure you that’s the case.



I truly regret what I did. And I believe it’s important that if you make a mistake you can still get a chance in life. It would be a huge regret if my mistakes of 12 years ago meant I could no longer work in cycling. People might accept and forgive if we can only tell them what happened.



This admission has been a big shock to my girlfriend, family and friends, and I am thankful for all the support they are giving me. After this difficult decision I need to re-establish their confidence in me and to prove to my girlfriend and kids that I can give them the future we want.



I hope very much to stay in this sport, and I’m sure I can play my part in its clean future.



Related links

De Jongh leaves Team Sky after doping admission

Sean Yates retires

Bobby Julich leaves Team Sky after admitting to past doping

  • negrounder

    I think the sponsors bear a lot of responsibility for the doping in the past (prioritising results over clean athletes), so I think that it is only when sponsors suffer a negative impact from being associated with doping (beginning to happen) that we can look forward to a reliably clean sport.

    And especially given the UCI is still miles behind the curve, I applaud this stance by team Sky. Shame on all the other sponsors for NOT being so outspoken.

    It makes me much more positively inclined to Sky as a brand too.

    MT

  • Sam1

    jimmy the fish: Back in 09 DB wrote a recruitment strategy that stated that no one with a previous doping VIOLATION would be hired for the team. That ruled out David Millar. And in fact no one fitting that profile has been hired. You can argue over Sean Yates, but the fact is that he actually never did get a sanction. Neither Barry nor Julich nor de Jongh nor anyone left on the current team have ever been sanctioned.

  • richard b.

    yes jimmy thats what i thought obviously de jongh was prepared to make a false declaration 3 years ago so why wont he now? if new facts emerging left him no choice why didnt Sky sack him weeks ago?

  • Eddie K

    I think it is great what Dave B and sky are doing. They truly are leading the world in cycling both
    on the track and on the road. Hopefully their contribution to the sport will be remembered for the
    right reasons as long as Lance’s are for the wrong reasons. Well done Dave B., You and SKY are
    going a long way to make us believe that great things can be achieved without cheating.

  • jimmy the fish

    errrrmmmm Hang on, wasn’t all this supposed to be addressed when they set the team up? Can CW reprint the original declarations on hiring ‘clean’ staff and riders please

  • Marky Mark

    So when are Saxo Bank going to grow some balls and help the whole of cycling rid itself of its shameful past and sack Bjarne Riis (and Contador, come to that, someone who Riis has supported, no surprise)

  • PeterLB

    A forced admission is not the same as having reformed, so don’t be too quick to put De Jongh in the same category as Millar. Neither would I be too quick to congratulate De Jongh as I very much doubt he used EPO for just two years of his career.

    Well done for admitting it and walking away (with wages paid until the end of his contract), but he deserves no more praise than that.

  • Terry

    Well done Steven, that must have been tough. SKY may well be a lone voice in the wilderness but I want to look my family and friends in the eye and know SKY is clean.
    It’s gonna get worse before it’ gets better.

  • Sam1

    Colnago dave: these guys are all on contracts – less than 12 month contracts and you dont anything like the same entitlements under UK employment law when it comes to reason for the employer to terminate (or simply not renew for the next period). As long as the employer pays you to the end of your contract period, the contractor doesnt have grounds e.g. unfair dismissal – and Sky are paying the guys who come clean about past doping, a wedge as part of their termination package.

  • Conrad

    Good on you Steven – I hope that you find a role with a Team soon. I also think that at some point Sky should show a level of forgiveness to people like Steven and David Millar who have clearly reformed and are prepared to be honest about past involvement that happened more than 8 years ago.

  • Graham Etheridge

    Agree with poster Chris, nicely put, good luck Steven De Jongh, I hope you do get a job back in cycling where you can pass on your experiences both good & bad, so the newer generations of riders dont make the same mistakes you & most of your peers made back in those dark days. Good luck Steven.

  • cyclemike

    How refreshing it is to hear a person boxed into a corner admit to wrongdoing then bleat how they only did it a bit and are sorry. Sorry on getting caught… How about being sorry for the other riders they cheated when competing. Before being boxed in I bet they were not ashamed etc, just smug.

  • Colnago dave

    While I agree with the necessity of getting rid of the current dopers I just have a feeling that the Team Sky policy is a voice in the wilderness. Until either the UCI or WADA bans anyone who in their previous career as a rider from holding a position within a team then SKY policy although admirable will achieve nothing other than putting people out of work who have a lot to offer the sport in terms of experience. How teams like Saxo Bank is allowed a licence with a self confessed doper who like Armstrong won the TDF is a mystery.
    You could even question whether SKY is leaving itself wide open under Employment, discrimination or even Human rights legislation as in industry you could not get away with firing someone who had not broken any law.

  • Michael

    Sad, but I admire his frankness and honesty when it would have been easy to tell lies. Hope he finds another rewarding position in cycling.

  • JeffGoldblumIII

    Sure, just a couple of years, just a couple of times. Bullshit. Funny that it doesn’t include any of his biggest wins. You might think it would be the other way around.

  • Chris

    How refreshing to hear someone admit to making a misjudgment in an era where the pressure to dope was clearly severe, the more becomes the norm that all riders are clean, then the more obvious it will be as to who the cheats are, as they will feel the heat and isolation that those in past years who refused doping felt. I’m sure it’s a weight of his mind and is seen just as employable now he’s shown some honesty and regret, although not with Sky.