Chris Sheppard: "I cheated"

Canadian mountain biker Chris Sheppard recently tested positive for recombinant erythropoietin (rEPO) after an out-of-competition test at his home in Kamloops, Canada, and was subsequently suspended by Canadian Cycling and fired from Team Haro. He was liked in the mountain-bike community but is now a pariah. Sheppard used to send a personal email to his sponsors and friends on a regular basis; a diary of sorts. The email was called the 'Shep Report'. What follows is what the outcast rider calls 'the final Shep Report.' In it, Shep, as he is known to friends, explains what led to his decision to take EPO and the consequences.

First and foremost I have to say that I cheated. Point blank. I have let down my girlfriend, family, friends, sponsors, fellow racers, and National team supporters. I have been led down a path that ends my career with question marks and lost hope especially to those who looked up to me. All I can say is I AM SORRY. There is no justification for what I have done - just a history of why I was pushed to this point. I am not trying to raise sympathy, nor have people feel sorry for me. Cycling is a tough sport and after 17 years of racing clean and pointing the finger, I gave in during hard times. I wanted what was taken away from me; that is, years of hard work culminating in a solid season that ended with an accident and my spiral into depression.

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