British cyclist Damien Sharp has been suspended for two years after testing positive for EPO. The ban was handed down by the Bermuda cycling Federation, as Sharp had lived on the island for several years.
The 36-year-old tested positive at an event in Bermuda on July 17. He admitted using EPO, waived his right to a hearing and returned to the UK. The ban runs through August 17, 2013.
According to the Bermuda website royalgazette.com, Sharp's “markedly improved performances are known to have raised a collective eyebrow in the local cycling community, with Sharpe becoming a regular top three finisher during the recent season.”
The Bermuda Bicycle Association (BBA) said in a statement that “It is a shock to the BBA and a disservice to the sport of cycling that a recreational athlete should choose to resort to such illegal and immoral methods in order to gain advantage in local races.
“Doping at any level of sport is cheating and this was a clear instance of an individual attempting to gain an competitive edge by cheating.”
The investigation was a multi-national effort. Cathy Belvedere, head of the Bermuda Sports Anti doping Authority, said “We can confirm that the test was conducted in cooperation with UK Anti Doping and USADA, the US anti-doping agency. A clear demonstration that anti-doping organisations worldwide, can and do work together. Increasingly, globally, dopers have nowhere to hide.”
“This case highlights the importance of cooperation between National Anti Doping Organisations and how information sharing can be used to successfully identify and ultimately bring sanctions to doping athletes.”
UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson echoed those sentiments, saying “through the collaborative work of three national anti-doping organizations ... this suspension underlines that the fight against doping in sport is being fought on a global level.”