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Zajicek given life ban for doping

Phil Zajicek (Fly V Australia) from the USA awaits the start to stage three in Burnie.

Phil Zajicek (Fly V Australia) from the USA awaits the start to stage three in Burnie. (Image credit: Shane Goss)

Phillip Zajicek has been handed down a lifetime ban by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Zajicek admitted to purchasing, possessing and using EPO and human growth hormone from the Shandong Kexing Bioproducts company.

He also admitted to another doping offence of providing a false testimony at the American Arbitration Panel hearing, as well as encouraging other witnesses to provide false testimony. Zajicek’s first offense was the result of an adverse analytical finding for the stimulant cathine in 2004.

The 32-year-old will serve a lifetime ban of ineligibility dating from June 2011 and he will also pay $5000 for the expenses associated to his conduct. Zajicek is also disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to April 24, 2007, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

“When he was caught he basically attempted to cover up his violations, and under the WADA code there is article 2.8 that basically says a cover up can be a separate offence. That allowed us to add a third offence that brings us to the lifetime ban of ineligibility,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygaart told Cyclingnews.

Zajicek had a first hearing in September 2, 2010 for the possession of EPO and growth hormone. He then had a AAA hearing on September 14 where the panel sided with the rider, issuing a statement on November 1, 2010 saying that USADA had not met a level required for the burden of truth. Cyclingnews reported in January that USADA were in the process of appealing the case.

In fact USADA had appealed on November 22, 2010 and through the course of that process built up additional evidence that Zajicek lied and had encouraged others to do so and from even showing up at the hearing.

“We showed him the evidence before the CAS proceedings and he saw what was inevitable and he agreed to the ban and the $5000 fine,” Tygaart told Cyclingnews.

"This is another unfortunate example of the drug culture that has infiltrated some parts of pro cycling and it’s also the culture that encourages the athletes to not only cheat but when confronted to lie and abuse the process in order to avoid being detected through the legal process.

“This shows that we have the resolve to ensure the truth is ultimately revealed and hopefully now is the time for truth when it comes to the sport of cycling.”

Last Autumn Joe Papp confirmed to Cyclingnews that USADA were investigating possible doping violations stemming from sales of EPO and HGH that he facilitated on behalf of the Shandong Kexing Bioproducts company.

Purchases of the illegal performance-enhancing drugs were made by up to 187 international athletes from a variety of sports, including cycling, from September 2006 to September 2007. American cyclist Jonathan Chodroff was the first and until today the only professional cyclist to face a sanction as a result, receiving a two-year suspension from USADA. Chodroff admitted to purchasing the products. Several masters riders have also been handed suspensions in relation to the case.

The transactions took place with Papp as an intermediary between his sportsman clients and the Chinese sellers of the Eposino-brand of EPO and Jintropin HGH.

Papp confirmed to Cyclingnews that he was in Denver, Colorado on September 14th to give testimony in a hearing, and he said as much via Twitter, writing in the early-morning hours of the 15th: "Gnite from Denver, peeps. Remember - speed kills, EPO works, but doping isn't worth the long term negative consequences..."

Shortly after the announcement was made, Cyclingnews received a statement from Zajicek: "Today, I have accepted a lifetime ban from the sport of cycling. I have had an enjoyable and successful career which has taken me to all corners of the of the globe and I’m grateful for everything cycling has given me. It’s time to walk away from the sport and begin the next chapter of my life with the tremendous support of my wife, family and friends behind me."