The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport has given Michael Dean Pepper a three-year ban after he tested positive for testosterone and clenbuterol last fall. Pepper has already been released by his Continental-ranked Team, House of Paint.
The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport announced the ban on Wednesday. “Because two banned substances were found in the athlete’s sample, and the fact that he admitted guilt, the tribunal panel felt they could increase the ban from two years to three years,” said Khalid Galant, the Institute's CEO, according to Sport24.co.za.
The 26-year-old tested positive at the Amaschova Classic race in Durban last October.
Pepper admitted that the clenbuterol came from a nutritional supplement which he knowingly took, according to Side Wind sports, which owns the team.
“Pepper confirmed he had been given a cream that contained testosterone due to health issues relating to hormone imbalances, and more specifically, depleted testosterone. Pepper claimed the use of the banned substance was in minute quantities however he was at all times aware that it was nonetheless illegal,” said Side Wind in a statement.
“He stated it was never his intention to take the substance to win or become better than any of his fellow riders but rather just to reach a level he had previously had. He also went on to confirm that there is no other cyclist involved and that his team and or teammates at the time, were unaware of what he was doing.”
Pepper was a successful elite rider, but did not have any significant results after turning pro with House of Paint in 2009.