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UKAD hands three-and-half-year ban to teenager Gabriel Evans for EPO use

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Blood samples in doping control

Blood samples in doping control
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A lab technician analyzes samples in an anti-doping test.

A lab technician analyzes samples in an anti-doping test. (Image credit: AFP)

UK Anti-Doping has handed a three-and-a-half-year ban to 19-year-old rider Gabriel Evans, who admitted to using EPO last season.

Evans confessed to his use of EPO when contacted by UKAD last October. UKAD had been investigating his case since August 2015, when the father of a then-teammate discovered that he had brought a vial of EPO with him to training camp in France.

UKAD opted not to hand Evans the maximum ban of four years, citing his immediate admission of culpability and his immaturity. The ban runs from 16 October 2015 to midnight on 15 April 2019.

“Evans clearly acted intentionally when he decided to purchase and use EPO. However, doping is not a straightforward decision and every person’s motivations are different. Some do it for money, some do it to win. Some do it because they are curious and have seen others doing it,” UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“It is therefore absolutely correct that every case is treated individually, and in this case that the sanction was reduced by six months to reflect that, as a young man of 18 at the time he committed the violations, Evans’ decision-making skills were impacted by his relative immaturity.

“What this case also highlights is the important role that support staff play in protecting athletes. I thank the person who came forward with information and evidence of doping. By doing so, they have called out wrong-doing and safeguarded the welfare of a young athlete.”

Evans, who rode for the Catford CC-Equipe Banks club, wrote on an internet forum in December that he had decided to use EPO after finishing second in the 25-mile Junior British time trial championship on August 1, 2015. He added that he bought EPO for the first time on August 3.

“On 11 August 2015 I travelled to France for a week’s training camp with the family of a then-teammate. With me I brought one vial of EPO. This was found by the teammate's father who presented evidence to UK Anti-Doping. UKAD contacted me shortly after to arrange a deposition, in which I promptly admitted to all wrongdoing,” Evans wrote in December.

Evans won the British Junior 10-mile time trial championship in September, but has since forfeited the title.