Australia's Nathan O'Neill has admitted to taking the appetite suppressant Phentermine which lead to his positive test at this year's Tour of Elk Grove, and has apologised to all concerned for the "embarrassing situation". The former Health Net-Maxxis rider was released by the team in late October, the professional squad announced yesterday, after traces of the appetite suppressant, which O'Neill is legally allowed to use out of competition, were found in his system during the Elk Grove event.
"I admit that I used the medicine for the prescribed purpose, in an out-of-competition situation," O'Neill said in a statement. "Unfortunately for me, there was a tiny amount that was still present in my body at the time the sample was collected in competition."
The 33 year-old is an eight time Australian national time trial champion and has displayed his prowess in the discipline on American soil, taking six time trial victories in 2007 including leading the Health Net-Maxxis squad to win the first team time trial in an American NRC race at the Tour de Toona.
"We are certain that this did not constitute a stimulant effect, but I do understand that there will be repercussions for this misjudgment," continued O'Neill. "I sincerely apologise to my Health Net team, my sponsors and my fans for this embarrassing situation."
The statement from O'Neill, who claimed the Tour of Elk Grove's opening stage and general classification victories, concludes by saying he will go before an Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority panel in the coming weeks to put forward his case.