Editor’s note: Earlier Thursday, American Bobby Julich publicly confessed to having used EPO between 1996 and 1998. Julich’s statement, which touches on his own PED use, but also on his hopes for the future, appears here in its entirety, lightly copyedited.
Dear Team Sky, family, friends, fans, and supporters of cycling,
I would like to preface this statement by saying that whilst I don’t expect all of you to believe some of the things that I am about to say, I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence any longer and deny that I have never had anything to do with the shady past of professional cycling. This statement is about me and the decisions that I have made in the past.
I have recently made a full confession to Team Sky senior management about my doping history and understand that by doing so I will no longer be able to work for a dream team performing my dream job. I also understand that by doing this, I will have to face some more important consequences in the real world and with the people that matter the most to me.
I knew before I headed to our team meeting in London last week that we would all be asked about our past. I knew that this was going to be a pivotal point in my life and I decided to come clean not only to Team Sky but also to the sport and people that I love.
Lately, much has been said about purging the past before being able to rebuild and finally putting these dark days behind us. If we are going to purge, then we should do it for the right reasons. I hope we can learn from the past and look toward the present and future generations so that they will not have to confront the same issues.
I made the decision to use EPO several times from August 1996 until July of 1998. Those days were very different from today, but it was not a decision that I reached easily. I knew that it was wrong, but over those two years, the attitude surrounding the use of EPO in the peleton was so casual and accepted that I personally lost perspective of the gravity of the situation.
During the 1998 Tour, my fiancé (now wife) found out what was going on from another rider’s wife. She confronted me on it and it was one of the most dreadful experiences of my life. She was never a part of this and I put her in a very difficult situation. She told me right then and there that if it ever happened again, our relationship would be over. That was motivation enough and I knew I had to stop.
The Festina Affair changed everything for me. It reaffirmed for me that this was not only wrong and bad for my health, but also illegal with heavy consequences. In a strange way, I was relieved that the Festina Affair happened and was personally convinced doping would stop and that this problem would be over. I quickly realised how wrong I was.
From that moment on, I tried to shield young riders from the temptations that were out there. The following years my own resolve with doping may have wavered but it did not break. There were times that I was tempted to return to the dark side, but after some difficult years, I stopped thinking about what others were doing and focused on my own performance and enjoyment in the sport. Most importantly, I proved to myself that it is possible to compete clean and I came back with solid, clean results that I am extremely proud of.
My return to the top level of the sport coincided with signing at Team CSC in 2004 and I want to briefly explain my side of the story. I know that much has been said about what allegedly happened there and about the man that is the figure head of that team. I am not going to defend him as a person but rather as an organization and what it did for me personally.
This organization gave me two things that no illegal substance could ever truly provide. It gave me back my self-respect and my self-confidence. That was all that I needed to perform at the highest level. This was my personal experience. At no time was I offered or did I receive any sort of blood manipulation nor did I witness any systematic doping within the team. I found that I could compete without it and my results during that period were achieved clean. That being said, what happened before the 2006 Tour de France changed my outlook into what we all thought we were buying into when we joined that team.
When I began working for Team Sky in 2011, the real selling point for me was their clear commitment to running a clean team and I wanted to be a part of it. I hope that everyone understands that this team is special. Dave Brailsford had never competed in the sport at the highest level, and he set out to do things differently. I am extremely honored to have been a member of this team and a small part of the success that they achieved during this period.
I apologize to everyone, especially those associated with Team Sky, for my past indiscretions. I made some poor decisions and have paid and will pay a huge price. I am taking responsibility, at the expense of not being able to finish what I started, with some of the best people that I have ever been associated with.
To this new generation of young riders; I hope that you will learn from the past and avoid the mistakes many of us have made. It is up to your generation to insure that the issues of the past do not affect your future. I am truly sorry that you all are dealing with something that you had no part in creating.
I know I cannot change my past; however, I do wish to remain in the sport of cycling in some capacity. I love it with all my heart and I hope that even though I made some poor decisions a long time ago, that I can continue to help contribute to the positive changes in this sport. I believe that it is a sport worth saving.