Former world mountain bike champion Christophe Dupouey committed suicide Wednesday, French cycling officials confirmed.
Dupouey, 40, was reportedly despondent ever since he was sentenced to three months in jail in 2006 for his role in Belgium’s “pot belge” doping scandal. More than 40 people were arrested in 2003 as part of an alleged distribution network.
The lanky Frenchman switched from road racing into the booming mountain bike scene in the mid-1990s and quickly became a force, becoming the first French rider to win a World Cup race with a win in Houffalize, Belgium in 1996.
Always a consistent performer on the World Cup circuit, his career highlight came with victory in the 1998 world championships in Mont-Saint-Anne, Canada. He also won the French and European titles each twice.
Dupouey, also a top cyclocross rider, twice went to the Summer Olympic Games, competing in Atlanta in 1996, where he just missing out on a medal with a fourth-place finish, and again to Sydney in 2000.
He rode as part of the dominant Sunn-Nike team and then with Giant before retiring in 2002.
Since last year, Dupouey was working in Tarbes, France, as a coordinator of a free bike system in his hometown.