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Reversing earlier denial, Barry admits to doping at U.S. Postal

  • By Neal Rogers
  • Published Oct. 10, 2012
Going back on his earlier denial, Michael Barry admits having doped at U.S. Postal Service. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

Canadian Michael Barry, a former member of the U.S. Postal Service team, issued a statement Wednesday admitting to having doped while a member of the team.

Barry rode for the team from 2002 to 2006. He has been a member of Sky since 2010, though he announced his retirement in September. U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart on Wednesday listed Barry as among the 11 former Postal Service riders to have testified in its investigation of Lance Armstrong.

When Barry’s name was first mentioned by Floyd Landis as among those who had doped while part of the Postal Service team, the former Canadian national champion denied it. In May 2010, Barry told VeloNews, “When you see false allegations like that, it is pretty shocking. Throughout my career I have had a strong anti-doping stance.”

On Wednesday, however, that story changed. Barry, one of 11 former Postal riders to have testified before USADA, admitted to his prior transgressions.

“After being encouraged by the team, pressured to perform and pushed to my physical limits I crossed a line I promised myself and others I would not: I doped. It was a decision I deeply regret. It caused me sleepless nights, took the fun out of cycling and racing, and tainted the success I achieved at the time,” Barry wrote in a statement. “This was not how I wanted to live or race.”

Like his former teammate and friend George Hincapie, Barry claims to have raced clean since the 2006 season, the season following Lance Armstrong’s retirement.

Also similar to Hincapie, Barry announced his retirement earlier this year.

Michael Barry’s full statement:

Cycling has always been a part of my life. As a boy my dream was to become a professional cyclist who raced at the highest level in Europe. I achieved my goal when I first signed a contract with the United States Postal Service Cycling team in 2002. Soon after I realized reality was not what I had dreamed. Doping had become an epidemic problem in professional cycling.

Recently, I was contacted by United States Anti-Doping Agency to testify in their investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs on the United States Postal Service Team. I agreed to participate as it allowed me to explain my experiences, which I believe will help improve the sport for today’s youth who aspire to be tomorrow’s champions.

After being encouraged by the team, pressured to perform and pushed to my physical limits I crossed a line I promised myself and others I would not: I doped. It was a decision I deeply regret. It caused me sleepless nights, took the fun out of cycling and racing, and tainted the success I achieved at the time. This was not how I wanted to live or race.

After the summer of 2006, I never doped again and became a proponent of clean cycling through my writing and interviews.

From 2006 until the end of my career in 2012, I chose to race for teams that took a strong stance against doping. Although I never confessed to my past, I wrote and spoke about the need for change. Cycling is now a cleaner sport, many teams have adopted anti-doping policies and most importantly I know a clean rider can now win at the highest level.

I apologize to those I deceived. I will accept my suspension and any other consequences. I will work hard to regain people’s trust.

The lessons I learned through my experiences have been valuable. My goal now is to help turn the sport into a place where riders are not tempted to dope, have coaches who they can trust, race on teams that nurture talent and have doctors who are concerned for their health. From direct experience, I know there are already teams doing this but it needs to be universal throughout cycling.

Progressive change is occurring. My hope is that this case will further that evolution.

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Neal Rogers

Neal Rogers

Neal Rogers is editor in chief of Velo magazine and VeloNews.com. An interest in all things rock 'n' roll led him into music journalism while attending UC Santa Cruz, on the central coast of California. After several post-grad years spent waiting tables, surfing, and mountain biking, he moved to San Francisco, working as a bike messenger, and at a software startup. He moved to Boulder, Colorado, in 2001, taking an editorial internship at VeloNews. He never left. When not traveling the world covering races, he can be found riding his bike, skiing, or attending a concert.

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