Roy Sentjens retires after admitting EPO use

The Milram rider retires after first denying he doped, then admitting he "made a mistake."

Belgian cyclist Roy Sentjens announced his retirement from the sport on Saturday after admitting taking the banned blood booster EPO.

The Milram rider’s decision follows the provisional ban he received on Wednesday from the UCI triggered by his positive test for EPO in an out-of-competition control in August.

“The decision to provisionally suspend Mr. Sentjens was made in response to a report from the WADA-accredited laboratory in Cologne indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of Recombinant EPO in a urine sample collected from him at an out-of-competition test on 16 August 2010,” the UCI announced.

Sentjens, who had originally denied any wrongdoing, changed his tune in a statement on his personal website.

“I didn’t ask for the second ‘B’ sample (to be tested) because I knew what it would contain,” he wrote.

“I want to apologize to everyone who believed in me.”

The 29-year-old cyclist went on to explain how he had come to obtain the drug.

“I wanted a contract, I have a new house, a son, a car … I made a mistake. In a flash I drove to Barcelona. I was set to visit all the chemists where I could find EPO. From the second (pharmacy) I had what I wanted.

“On August 16 I was tested. I knew already that I was finished.”

EPO (erythropoietin) can significantly enhance performance by boosting the oxygen-rich red blood cells in the blood.

Sentjens, who was born in Holland but took out Belgian citizenship in 2005, retires with four wins after nine years as a professional rider during which time he rode for Rabobank (2002-2006), Predictor (2007), Silence (2008) and finally Milram.