Museeuw admits to doping as career wound down

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By Agence France Presse

The former champ' meets with reporters

The former champ’ meets with reporters

Photo: Agence France Presse Kurt Desplenter

Facing trial on doping charges, former world champion Johan Museeuw on Tuesday admitted to taking drugs in the final months of his career.

“In my last year of racing, I made an error, I didn’t race faithfully,” Museeuw said in a press conference, the first time the 1996 world road race champion has admitted taking drugs. “I wanted to finish my career in style, which pushed me to not play the game honestly.”

Museeuw’s remarks come after hearing last week that he and others cyclists implicated in a doping scandal will face trial in Kortrijk, Belgium.

The Belgian star stands accused of possessing the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) and two other illegal performance enhancers. He was suspected of being part of a ring of drug traffickers including a veterinary surgeon and three-time world cyclo-cross champion Mario De Clercq and eight other riders and go-betweens.

Museeuw reads from a prepared statement with his lawyer at his side.

Museeuw reads from a prepared statement with his lawyer at his side.

Photo: Agence France Presse Kurt Desplenter

They are suspected of supplying human growth hormones, stimulants, steroids and testosterone to riders. All will now face trial after Belgian authorities decided there was enough evidence to prosecute the men. Museeuw was given a two-year ban by the Belgian cycling federation in 2004 for being implicated in the doping affair even though the then 38-year-old, who won the World Cup in 1995 and 1996, had already retired from the sport.

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