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'I'm embarrassed about what happened' says Nicki Sørensen of doping past

Nicki Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) at the 2014 Dwars door Vlaanderen, in the final season of his pro career
Nicki Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) at the 2014 Dwars door Vlaanderen, in the final season of his pro career (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Former professional rider Nicki Sørensen, who is now a sports director at WorldTour team Israel Start-Up Nation, has told the Danish media that he's "embarrassed" by his doping past but says that he's now in a position to educate younger riders that it is not a path that they should go down.

After retiring at the end of the 2014 season – having won stages at the 2009 Tour de France and the 2005 Vuelta a España, riding the majority of his career for Bjarne Riis' CSC team, which was later known as Saxo Bank and Tinkoff – the Dane admitted in 2015 that he'd doped.

"It happened in the early years of my career, and it was more than 10 years ago," he said at the time.

But Sørensen opened up further about his past while appearing on Danish channel TV2 show Tour de ja-vu on Saturday.

"I'm embarrassed about what happened," the 45-year-old said. "I felt a bit like a victim at the time, but it was still my choice to do so [dope].

"When I entered professional cycling, it was clear to me that there was a general culture for cyclists to dope. I was told by professional cyclists that this is how it worked. That was the only way. Then I made the difficult choice to jump on that wagon," said Sørensen, who also repeated what he'd said in 2015: that he'd doped from the start of his career to "around 2004".

Today, as a directeur sportif at Israel Start-Up Nation, Sørensen says that he feels as though he's in a position to advise his riders that the doping road is not one to go down.

"One might ask the question: what is my place in cycling today as a sports director? I feel I can show young people that it is not the way to go," he said.