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O'Grady: I've got nothing more to hide

By:
Aaron S. Lee
Published:
February 26, 03:00,
Updated:
February 26, 02:56
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Stuart O'Grady spoke to Cyclingnews while Sydney

Stuart O'Grady spoke to Cyclingnews while Sydney

  • Stuart O'Grady spoke to Cyclingnews while Sydney
  • Stuart O'Grady is launching his book Battle Scars and answering questions on his career
  • Stuart O'Grady's book is titled 'Battle Scars'
  • Stuart O'Grady in the leader's yellow jersey at the 2001 Tour de France

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Australian scared straight following Festina Affair

Embattled Australian cyclist Stuart O'Grady, an Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France yellow jersey holder, who fell from grace following a doping admission in July, sat down with Cyclingnews in Sydney on Wednesday at the start of his national book tour of his aptly entitled autobiography Battle Scars.

O'Grady opened up about his career including his claimed one-time EPO offence prior to the 1998 Tour and the 2013 confession that has since changed both his personal life and his legacy within the sport.

"I had just turned pro in 1995 and only ridden my first Tour in 1997, and my next Tour I'm standing on top of the podium and then the Festina Affair happens," said O'Grady of the 1998 doping scandal that surrounded the Festina cycling team, and ultimately led to the team's expulsion and confessions of doping from all nine riders.

"I think most people have come to the realisation that it was different era and the testing wasn't up to scratch and maybe the governing body could have been a bit stronger, but you can't just blame it all on one little part of it as it was a whole wheel of problems."

The former Orica-GreenEdge road captain, who helped teammates Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey capture the team's first yellow jerseys and a team time trial stage win at last year's Tour de France, immediately announced his retirement from professional cycling the day after the final stage, and then admitted to using EPO ahead of the 1998 Tour on the eve of the French Senate report into doping during that year's grand tour being publicly released.

"I just kind of buried it so far back in my mind because it was just one of those things that I hoped would never surface," said the 40-year-old husband and father of three. "It was the darkest period of my career. It was the darkest period of cycling in general. It was a really bad time."

O'Grady says that while talking about his past indiscretions has been difficult, he hopes that his book, started in December 2012 and ghost written by Adelaide Advertiser sportswriter Reece Homfray, will help shed some light on a dark age in cycling and a mistake that he can never undo.

"We had pretty much wrapped up the book when my personal situation came out so obviously we had to rewrite it a bit and add a few chapters," he says. "It will be interesting to see how people take it on board. I just hope people can put into context and try to understand what it was like back then."

As far as detractors who may still have questions regarding his claimed one-time use, the Tour's most "People can believe what they want. I've done my best to portray the build up and what led me to [doping] and my career ever since."

The 2007 Paris-Roubaix winner and 17-time Tour participant – the most ever after another 17-time veteran George Hincapie was removed from three starts due to his involvement in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal – is steadfast he only doped for the short 10 to 12 day period prior to the Tour and that despite the rumours throughout the peloton, he had no knowledge of any other riders that were using.

"I had no idea," he said. "I didn't want to think that the men I was racing against were cheating. I didn't know that a Lance Armstrong or a Matty White was cheating and it all came to me as a complete surprise. All I know is what I've done.

"For me everything changed in 1998 with Festina. I saw guys handcuffed and being taken to jail and when guys start taken to prison over bike riding that's a pretty damn big wake up call and that was all it took for me. I am sure quite a few riders changed their outlook after that. Unfortunately as we have seen, quite a few have not.

"That was enough for me. I am pretty sure my Olympic samples, as well as others, are stored away somewhere," concluded O'Grady on lingering doubts over his reported limited use of performance enhancing drugs. "So I say go for it and rip them open. I am not afraid, I've got nothing more to hide."

PatsyCline 5 months ago
100% correct Stuart. Well said. Of course it was the testers fault you doped. Yes, their "testing wasn't up to scratch", and that gave you every right to dope. The testers should be banned for their incompetence. I'm not going to bother to comment any more on this subject. O'Grady isn't worth my time or my effort. I might come back to the subject when he finally makes his second confession for doping. Loser.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
Well don't comment - easy - if it's not worth your time why did you bother. All the comments here from people happy to point the finger - simple if you don't like what Stewie has to say no-one is forcing you to read it. There's heap of other forums in which you can participate.
Matt R 5 months ago
You must admit PP - 2 things stand out from the interviews and book promotions O'Grady has completed: 1. He does seem to be quick to try and lessen his guilt by blaming other parties. 2. He must take the general public for being imbecilic. Can I ask you a question? Do you believe O'Grady transgressed just once?
Wheelsucker11 5 months ago
Way too many inconsistencies in Stuart's so called "facts". If he didn't know about other riders doping, then where did he hear about EPO, what it did for cyclists and how to take it? Why would he risk being the first to take drugs if he didn't know that other riders took them? How can he explain almost beating Erik Zabel for the Tour's green jersey as a clean athlete, against an admitted doped up Zabel? The last person asked this was Armstrong when questioned after 2006 on how he could have beaten a doped up Ulrich. He claimed he just trained harder and I'm sure we all now know the real answer. Sorry Stuart, but when some of your best cycling results were achieved at the height of the doping era, it's more than a little hard to believe it was because you were a clean athlete that trained and rode harder. Especially when none of your AIS physiological test results showed you to be elite athlete like Cadel Evans, only a very good domestique. Once a Stuey fan.
MattCla 5 months ago
Stuey holds the record for V02 max at the AIS. 94 if I remember rightly. That was recorded back in with track days. He was never going to win the tour but sustaining high speed for long periods of time and a super recovery was always his thing. Reminds me of Voigt - except more top-end.. and shorter.. and less hair....and not very German. Brad McGee was clean and I recon so was McEwen. I thought they did 'pretty well' during this period.
Silver Bullet 5 months ago
No Pedal Pusher. These guys need to know that the fans don't believe their bleeding obvious bullsh1t. I hope he reads these comments and wakes the hell up, if even a little. Highly doubt it though. He may be fooling the public at large, not helped by these drooling journalists who cannot ask a challenging question to save their integrity, despite the mountain of probing angles at their disposal. And its NOT the same as cyber-trashing someone because of doping mistakes. He is trying to stuff this bullsh1t book into the clueless and he knows damn well he is full of it. You are one shameless fraud Stuey.
sime72 5 months ago
I can see where people's disbelief comes from, but lets phrase it a different way. What evidence is there that he did it more than once, that he is lying? Would people be happy with anything other than "yup, I've been doping my entire career". It doesn't matter what answer he gives, there will be people who believe, with no evidence other than "everyone else did" that he did too. I'm not sticking up for him, I don't know if he did it 1, 2 or 3843 times. But I can't say with confidence that he did it one time, any more than anyone else can say he did it lots. It's an ugly situation, with no easy answer.
Matt R 5 months ago
Evidence? Ask Tyler Hamilton about what went on at CSC with Riis. In 1998 O'Grady had to dope otherwise he wouldn't be able to get over one mountain with the peloton. 7 years later, he is driving peloton km after km, hour after after, day after day through the high mountains at such a pace he is dropping GC favourites who have since admitted they were doped to the eyeballs at the time. How did he make such a sudden transformation AFTER stopping the PED use?
Wallace 5 months ago
The answer seems pretty easy to me. The one time his results are retro-tested (the 1998 Tour) he tests positive, and he claims that by an amazing coincidence, that just happens to be the one time he doped. Does that really seem at all believable to you? I'd bet money that if they retro-tested another of his races--like, say, the 2007 Paris-Roubaix--you'd hear Stuey saying "oh--wait. I forgot about that race. Twice. I only doped twice." And so on, ad vomitum. I'm not criticizing the man for doping--what top racer wasn't (or probably, isn't)?--but for trotting out such a transparent and unimaginative lie.
Escarabajo 5 months ago
They have to retest the ones with EPO. Those later ones could have been with blood transfusion and that's why he is not afraid. They have to retro-test before 2000-2001 aprox. But for the rest you are right about the assessment of the situation.
6209ocarroll 5 months ago
Well said PatsyCline......And Pedal Pusher, please please stop!! I actually fought for 'freedom of speech' and democracy, so pull you head out of your arse and let people have their say!!!!
TheBean 5 months ago
All PedalPusher said what that people who post things such as "I am not going to post any more" are contradicting themselves and making themselves look silly (in his opinion). I think he's right about that. I also think the myriad of posters who think SOG is spouting a lot of nonsense are correct. I also think SOG is correct when he says it was "A whole wheel of problems". And, I think it probably still is a whole wheel of problems. And, 62-0ocarroll, to agree with someone who plainly states that a cyclist had "the right to dope" due to the "incompetence of a tester" seems rather contradictory to the advancement of fair and clean sport. Agreeing that the testers should be banned for incompetence is also confusing to me.
antmills 5 months ago
PP ..... You are completely out of touch with reality and with what is required regarding dopers. They very rarely are honest about their "confessions" and are always trying to divert blame and quite amazingly, seem to think we fans of cycling will fall for the "I only did it once" (which just happened to be the time they were caught) arguement. This doper deserves the same as all that are caught ... throw the book at them, cancel any wins whilst cheating and fine & ban them until they start to get it into their thick heads that they are the cancer in cycling. WE DON'T NEED THEM .... and we certainly don't need any of their pathetic works of fiction.
TheBean 5 months ago
Antmills, do you suggest that all of Merckx's wins be cancelled? He tested positive and confessed. Indurain worked with suspicious doctors. Fignon and Pantani (RIP) doped. I think that leaves only Lemond, Hinault, and Delgado as TdF cmapions from the last 40 years or so who have untarnished reputations.
Wheelsucker11 5 months ago
Sorry Bean, but if you research Delgado, you'll find that he took Probenecid to hide steroid use and there was only a small uproar about his Tour win, to hide the issue of drug use from the public. He was lucky and got off on a technicality. As for Hinault, his old manager Cyrile Guimard (who also managed Fignon and Lemond) was quoted as saying that he knew that the only clean winner he managed was Lemond. Hard to argue against that.
maldux 5 months ago
So you believe Cadel Evans is a doper?
fastfreddy 5 months ago
yes he is in the same boat as all other top riders, how can you win the tour d f being clean around dopers? i have only one answer. regards freddy
neilrichards1@optusnet.com.au 5 months ago
Fignon also RIP brown bread. A doper but a fighter. Pantani not the only one who's missed.
Silver Bullet 5 months ago
"I didn't know that a Lance Armstrong or a Matty White was cheating and it all came to me as a complete surprise" If you believe that, then god help you.
WildspokeJoe 5 months ago
He forgot to include Ivan Basso on that list.
Matt R 5 months ago
And Tyler Hamilton. And Dave Millar. And Philippe Gaumont. And so on and so on.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
Guess the world is just full of drop kicks that just don't have the capacity to offer constructive comment who have one rule for cyclists and another for idiots who think snide remarks are totally acceptable!
richcyclo 5 months ago
Good grief, your so wrong.
GuyIncognito 5 months ago
It's pretty nuts how he simultaneously claims he was shocked to find out others were doping and he had to dope because everyone else was doing it. He doesn't just think every fan is a moron, he himself is also not very smart
WildspokeJoe 5 months ago
I wish a journalists would ask simple questions like that. Or when he said he sourced EPO alone - How did he know what dose to take and when to take it? Because for someone who took it ONLY once he did a professional job - Winning a stage and wearing the yellow jersey.
HeadPack 5 months ago
But he surely considers himself smart. Given he basically said he thought he invented doping back then, and only to his surprise other did it as well. In a case like that, perhaps Omerta would be best, saving us from some utter bs.
fidelritchie 5 months ago
That was the first thing that came to mind when I read it too!
fastfreddy 5 months ago
he must be blind?
TheFred 5 months ago
He had no idea? Another question...George was removed due to the Lance scandal? Poor ole George...I thought he had done something wrong.
Jittery Joe 5 months ago
Another book about doping by another doper? Dang!
arlobike 5 months ago
Except apparently he wasn't going to mention doping until he was exposed, and then he went back and put that content in. Sheesh. The dopers I respect the least are the ones who lie about it the most, and writing a book about your life that leaves out the illegal doping constitutes a pretty big lie of omission.
Christopher Clarke 5 months ago
exactly. that was the key takeaway for me too arlobike... disgusting.
Snitor 5 months ago
Unfortunately, no. Just a book about clean riding by a doper.
Humaneityman 5 months ago
I'm going to invite all of these past, and present dopers to an event I will stage where the last 500 meters will involve riding over a cliff. When will all of these sad, sad human beings learn to tell the truth?
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
Good start would be writing under your real name. The hyprocrisy of posting anonymously - you expect Stewie to cop it sweet and expose himself , tell the truth and suffer the consequences yet you protect your name by posting anonymously....lets call it "Forum OMERTA" - where contributors spew forth comments after thinking for a few seconds and then hide behind posting anonomously. I hate doping I hate PED's and yes there should be suspensions and sanctions for those who use. Stewie messed up but he still contributed heaps to cycling and will remain one of my fav riders.
Matt R 5 months ago
You parents named you Pedal? I hope you don't have a sibling called Drug. For the record, I have posted my real name. So if you hate doping, you believe riders should be suspended, what punishment should O'Grady receive. You see, he's done pretty well out of this, thus far. He can remain one of your favourite riders Pedal. And he can remain a lying, cheating fraud to others as well.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
So your surname is R - you are a typical coward!
notworthaToot 5 months ago
It seems, Pedal, that you are the latest troll to hit CN. Everybody on the internet is anonymous to some extent, including you. You, however, are a hypocrite of the greatest magnitude. I hope you are enjoying getting your jollies by running around calling everyone an anonymous coward (for all the good it will do you).
jabike 5 months ago
You made some good points, this is not one of them. It makes you look like the exact people you mock for their own self-righteous comments.
samallan 5 months ago
Its my real name too - I have to agree with a lot of what Matt R has said, O'Grady has got off pretty lightly and it does seem near impossible that he rode right through the Armstrong era, a lot of time on the front hammering it - clean. Its worth reading what Sime72 has said "I can see where people's disbelief comes from, but lets phrase it a different way. What evidence is there that he did it more than once, that he is lying? Would people be happy with anything other than "yup, I've been doping my entire career". It doesn't matter what answer he gives, there will be people who believe, with no evidence other than "everyone else did" that he did too. I'm not sticking up for him, I don't know if he did it 1, 2 or 3843 times. But I can't say with confidence that he did it one time, any more than anyone else can say he did it lots. It's an ugly situation, with no easy answer."
richcyclo 5 months ago
Stop now ! the hole your digging is big enough. LOL!
jmdirt 5 months ago
BS!
tony365 5 months ago
Please if you are going to done the Fred Perry shirt, use the damn buttons O'grady. I don't care if he doped, of course he did, button up that shirt.
yossarian42 5 months ago
CN: Are you going to eke out this in-depth interview sentence by sentence? And btw I'm missing the quality touch of Zeb in the words. SO'G: Man up! You're a bloody embarrassment...
Max Headwind 5 months ago
So I am confused, did he inhale?
Matt R 5 months ago
No the testers and sport's governing body made him do it.
Pedal Pusher 5 months ago
Matt R - typical coward
yossarian42 5 months ago
No Mr Pusher, listen to Stuey: "most people have come to the realisation that it was different era and the testing wasn't up to scratch" - it's true, S'OG is not at fault.
Strydz 5 months ago
You really do enjoy playing the man don't you Mr Pusher
shapiro 5 months ago
Some of his Aussie contemporaries must be squirming and breaking out in a cold sweat at the prospect of a protracted book tour. Neil Stephens, Robbie McEwen, etc, etc..... The only time that I can remember an Aussie expressing outrage over a doping controversy, was Robbie McEwen .... in defence of LA when asked doping related Q's during a fund raiser.
bike_boy 5 months ago
Interestingly Robbie's 98 TDF sample was re-tested and he was one of the lucky ones that come back clean. I dunno how clean he was, but he doesn't seem to have the skeletons the others have ie; stu, cooke, davis, rodgers, evans, white etc.. all have suss dealings with docs or have been part of an investigation, robbie hasn't.