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By VeloNews Interactive, Copyright AFP2004
Former world Madison champion Robert Sassone, who is being investigated after drugs were found at his home, has admitted making a “mistake” which would ruin his life.
Sassone, 26, who also tested positive for a steroid derivative last year, printed an open letter in the French-language New Caledonians newspaper on Thursday saying he was paying heavily for his actions.
“I didn’t kill anyone, but this mistake, which I will explain to the judge, I’m paying for heavily and in cash. It will ruin my life because I dreamt of a career in cycling,” said Sassone, a member of the Cofidis team until last season.
In January, a French judge took the first step towards formal charges against Sassone after amphetamines, erythropoietin (EPO), growth hormone, testosterone and anabolic steroids were found during a search of his home at Hyeres in southern France. Sassone was placed in police custody but later released.
The probe was part of an investigation into Cofidis, the No. 1 team in France.
Traces of betamethasone, a glucocorticosteroid, were found in Sassone’s urine sample after the Six Days of Noumea, held in the French Pacific territory from November 28-December 3.
The use of glucocorticosteroids, which are used to treat asthma, is strictly limited under the rules of cycling. Sassone, who turned professional in 2000, won a gold medal in the Madison at the world track championships the following year.
He was a member of the Cofidis team until last season and joined third division Oktos-Saint-Quentin team this season.