Colorado Mesa University has fired cycling coach Rick Crawford after new allegations surrounding his involvement in doping riders have arisen.
Crawford admitted earlier this month to providing Levi Leipheimer and Kirk O’Bee with doping products in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After he came forward to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the university stood behind Crawford, installing former U.S. Postal Service rider and anti-doping advocate Scott Mercier as the program director.
The Grand Junction Sentinel has reported that another rider subsequently came forward accusing Crawford of providing him with performance enhancing drugs.
“It’s really sad. It’s a sad day for Rick and for the cycling team,” Mercier told the Sentinel. “In light of this new information, we had to let him go.”
The accuser has not been publicly named. While Crawford’s confessed misdeeds took place outside of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s statute of limitations, meaning he could not be officially sanctioned, he signed a pledge with USADA that if he were involved in an additional case, including those stemming from the past, Crawford would accept a second-offense lifetime ban.
“Based on what he’s already revealed, he’s in a losing situation,” Mercier said of Crawford. “He’s handled this with the utmost of grace.”
Attempts to reach Crawford and USADA officials were not immediately returned.
Former world mountain bike champion Mike Kloser, whose son Christian is a CMU freshman, stood behind the university’s decision.
“With the information that is available and that has been presented to me, I am fully supportive of Scott Mercier and CMU President Tim Foster’s decision of releasing Rick Crawford as Colorado Mesa University’s cycling coach,” he said in a statement. “My son, Christian, is a freshman at CMU and is on the cycling team. The young men and women of the CMU cycling team deserve to be able to pursue their cycling dreams without cycling’s tainted past interfering.”