Cyclist David George apologized for drug use found in a test five days after former teammate Lance Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles for doping.
George tested positive for stamina-boosting erythropoietin, or EPO, in an out-of-competition sample in his native South Africa on Aug. 29, the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport said on its website.
Nedbank Group Ltd. (NED), the South African bank that sponsors George’s current squad, Team 360Life, said in a statement today it was suspending the cycling unit’s activities.
“I would like to apologize to my sponsors, who have given me every opportunity to chase a dream, and teammates, for whom I have the utmost respect,” George, 36, said in a statement released by Nedbank. “I will endeavor to make right where humanly possible.”
George rode for the U.S. Postal Service team led by Armstrong in 1999 and 2000. He switched from road-bike racing to mountain biking in 2008. George had no major career wins and finished out of the medals at the 2008 Olympics.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said on Aug. 24 it was stripping Armstrong of his record seven Tour titles after he didn’t contest doping charges. The International Cycling Union, or UCI, endorsed the decision on Oct. 22. USADA said last month in releasing results of its investigation that Armstrong’s cycling career was “fueled start to finish by doping.”
George said in the statement he wouldn’t ask for a back-up test and wasn’t among the former teammates of Armstrong who gave evidence to USADA.
“Cycling, as you know, has been a confusing space and although it has given me incredible moments it has also given me experiences that no person or young athlete should have to go through,” George said.
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