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Frei confesses to EPO usage and is released by BMC

Thomas Frei (BMC Racing)

Thomas Frei (BMC Racing) (Image credit: BMC Racing Team)

Switzerland's Thomas Frei has confessed that he has doped for the last two years, revealing he tested positive for EPO after taking a micro-dose the evening before the early-morning test.

He said he would not have his B sample tested and admitted that he doped without the knowledge of the BMC Racing Team.

While Frei was confessing, BMC Racing issued a statement from co-owner Jim Ochowicz thanking him for his honesty but immediately terminating his contract.

“It is correct, that I have taken EPO. Therefore there is no sense in opening the B sample. There is no point in hoping for the off-chance that it will be negative,” the 25-year-old said Tuesday in a press conference in Olten, Switzerland, according to the Basler Zeitung newspaper.

Frei said that he had been doping since the summer of 2008, and that his inner circle was aware of it. “I am not a hardcore liar, I had to talk about it.” Frei rode for Astana in 2007 and 2008, before joining BMC in 2009.

He said that his positive test on March 21 happened almost by chance, revealing details of how athletes try to avoid being caught. The previous day he had given himself a micro-dosage of EPO for the first time in three months.

Frei claimed that if he had drank enough water after the injection, the urine test would not have shown the EPO. He didn't drink the required litre of water however, even when the controller arrived at six o'clock the next morning.

“I would otherwise now be preparing for the Giro d'Italia,” he noted.

Team reaction

BMC said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon that Frei confessed his doping violation to the team management after he was officially informed by Antidoping Switzerland of the positive test.

BMC team president Jim Ochowicz disavowed Frei's actions, stating that the team "regrets this situation for Thomas Frei and his career" but said they were "grateful to Thomas Frei that he confessed and clarified the situation immediately".

"The BMC Racing Team will now separate from Thomas Frei but thanks Thomas Frei for his honesty to confess his failure. This brings transparency to the situation and is part of the anti-doping fight the BMC Racing Team is committed to be part of.”

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