62-year-old racer David LeDuc has admitted to guilt after receiving a two-year suspension for doping. The North Carolina resident tested positive for three substances: EPO, exogenous steroids and amphetamines, after taking seventh place in the USA Cycling Masters National Championships in Bend, Oregon in September.
LeDuc did not respond to interview requests from Cyclingnews, but told the Raleigh News and Observer that after he was notified the positive test by USADA, "I told them don't even waste your time testing the 'B' sample, I'm guilty. They said, 'Well, since you're not going to contest it, we'll give you the minimum penalty of two years.'"
A long-time top competitor in the Southeastern racing scene, LeDuc has understandably slowed down since winning the masters' world championship more than a decade ago. He admitted that part of the drugs he tested positive for were to compensate for age, but that the amphetamine positive was the result of a drug prescribed to him to treat attention deficit disorder.
His steroid positive came as a result of testosterone also prescribed by his doctor. Testosterone levels naturally decline with age, leading to decreased energy and slower recovery from exercise, both of which can negatively impact race performance. Testosterone supplementation by older men has risen dramatically in recent years in the general public.
However, all USA Cycling licensed racers, like those from any national federation, are bound by the World Anti-Doping Agency code, and testosterone is prohibited both in-competition and out of competition.
After racing for nearly 30 years, LeDuc downgraded a few years ago from the top elite category to category 3 as he became less competitive in the Pro-Am ranks. He claimed in the News and Observer interview that he only resorted to testosterone and EPO recently after struggling more this year.
"The irony is that it didn't help, because this year I had the worst results of my life," LeDuc said.
The local cycling community's reaction has been mixed, with many taking to social media to revile him, but other friends reached out in support.
"This has made me understand what's really important in life, and it's those people," he said.
Don't expect LeDuc to give up the sport, as another local master's champion Pete Cannell did after being banned for doping. Although he will be closing in on 65 when he can return to racing, LeDuc plans to come back from his ban, and will still be training.
"I'd have to be put in a rubber room if I couldn't ride my bike," he said.