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Matt White admits doping, steps down from Orica-GreenEdge, Aussie national team

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Oct. 13, 2012
White, on the eve of the 2012 Paris-Roubaix. Photo: Dan Wuori

BEIJING (VN) – The USADA dossier continues to have a ripple across the peloton.

Just hours after beleaguered manager Johan Bruyneel stepped down as RadioShack-Nissan’s general manager, Matt White, sport director at Orica-GreenEdge, admitted Saturday that he doped during his tenure as a rider at the U.S. Postal Service.

White is also stepping down in his roles with Orica and the Australian national cycling team to give authorities time to consider his position.

The Australian director raced from 1998 to 2007, riding 2001-2003 at U.S. Postal Service and 2006-2007 at Discovery Channel.

White never raced the Tour de France with Lance Armstrong, but on Saturday, he admitted that he participated in the team’s widespread doping program outlined in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s “reasoned decision” released this week.

“I am sad to say that I was part of a team where doping formed part of the team’s strategy, and I too was involved in that strategy,” White wrote in a statement released Saturday.

“My involvement is something I am not proud of and I sincerely apologize to my fans, media, family and friends who trusted me and also to other athletes in my era that consciously chose not to dope.”

White also said he would suspend his activities as a director to give Orica-GreenEdge and the Aussie cycling federation a chance to review his case.

“I have been in contact with my employees and will be voluntarily standing down from my positions with the National Men’s High Performance Program with Cycling Australia and as a Sports Director with GreenEDGE Cycling while inquiries into my case are conducted and the Board of Cycling Australia and GreenEDGE make a determination regarding my future with each organization,” he said.

The 38-year-old said he ended his career in 2007 because he had the chance to work with the startup Slipstream Sports organization, which was founded by ex-pro Jonathan Vaughters and David Millar with a strong anti-doping platform.

White worked as sport director from 2008 to 2011, when Vaughters fired him after White told rider Trent Lowe to undergo physiological testing with Dr. Luis del Moral.

Del Moral is one of two team doctors singled out in the USADA case, which alleges they played a key role in an elaborate doping program at the U.S. Postal Service team.

Orica-GreenEdge team manager Shayne Bannan is currently at the Tour of Beijing, but White was not in attendance in the season’s final WorldTour race.

White’s statement in full:

I am aware my name has been mentioned during talks that USADA has had with former teammates of mine in their investigation regarding doping activities at the US Postal Service team. I am sad to say that I was part of a team where doping formed part of the team’s strategy, and I too was involved in that strategy. My involvement is something I am not proud of and I sincerely apologise to my fans, media, family and friends who trusted me and also to other athletes in my era that consciously chose not to dope.

I stopped my racing career because I had the opportunity to be part of something that had the potential to actually change cycling. The ideas about a clean team that Dave Millar and Jonathan Vaughters spoke to me about back then, were ones that the sport desperately needed. History has shown that these ideas when fully implemented had a lasting affect on our sport. With key elements like ” blood profiling” which then was later taken on board as the “Athlete Biological Passport” and the “No-Needles-Policy” which was also adopted by the UCI and WADA, a radical change for the better started to dominate the minds of a lot of athletes. These are legacies that were pioneered at Slipstream and they have had a real and lasting impact on cycling.

In my roles with Slipstream Sports, Cycling Australia and now at ORICA-GreenEDGE, I have always acted within the ethos of clean sport and I am very proud to have worked with the new generation of clean superstars.

A lot has changed for the better, cycling is totally different now, and I have seen these changes as an athlete and also in management with my own eyes in the last decade.

As a sport, cycling has received a lot of criticism regarding doping and rightfully so — but certain teams have also led the way in fighting an otherwise never-ending battle to ensure that professional cycling can stay clean. This battle starts from within and we have had great success in changing this in the current culture in our sport. I am convinced that this battle will need constant monitoring and we must learn constructively from the past. The approach that many riders of my generation had cannot be repeated, and I believe that cycling now has the most rigorous and complete testing regimes of any sport.

I am sorry for the people I have let down because of the personal choice I made at that time, but I have endeavoured to educate and guide the current stars and to ensure that future generations never have to deal with the pressures that existed in the past. But I am very confident that our sport is going the right direction and I believe cycling has a bright future.

 

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Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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