The Australian Olympic Committee has called on 17-Tour veteran O’Grady, 39, to step down from his role on its Athletes’ Commission since the revelation in an interview with New Limited.
“Leading into the Tour I made a decision, I sourced it (EPO) myself, there was no one else involved, it didn’t involve the team in any way,’ O’Grady said of his use of the blood booster.
“I just had to drive over the border and buy it at any pharmacy.
“The hardest part of all this is I did it for two weeks before the Tour de France. I used extremely cautious amounts because I’d heard a lot of horror stories and did the absolute minimum of what I hoped would get me through.”
An Olympics gold medallist on the track in Athens 2004, O’Grady won four stages in Le Tour. These included one in 1998, the year it was dubbed the Tour of Doping when the Festina team was ejected from the race.
tA French Senate inquiry claimed the year’s top three finishers, Italian Marco Pantani, Germany’s Jan Ullrich and American Bobby Julich, had been using EPO.
After this, O’Grady said he gave the drug away.
“When the Festina Affair happened, I smashed it, got rid of it and that was the last I ever touched it,” he said.
“That’s the hardest thing to swallow out of all this – it was such a long time ago and one very bad judgement is going to taint a lot of things and people will have a lot of questions.
“You win Olympics, Paris-Roubaix and now all of that is going to be tainted by this action and I wish it could be changed but it can’t.”
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