Retired Norwegian cyclist admits to doping

Retired Norwegian cyclist Steffen Kjaergaard admitted that he had used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.

At a press conference here Tuesday, Kjaergaard said he did not tell the truth for nearly 15 years about what he called the "dark days" of his past, reports Xinhua.

"My career started in 1996. Throughout the first year I got an understanding of a dirty game which I was quite unprepared for," he said.

Kjaergaard, who won 12 Nordic Championship gold medals and three King's Cups and cycled for the US Postal Service from 2000 to 2003, said he used erythropoietin in 1998 on his own initiative.

"In 1999, I decided to contact a Belgian doctor to get help for instruction, both for health reasons and for avoiding the risk of being caught.

"This resulted in probably a good season, and I got a contract with the US Postal Service," said Kjaergaard, who had no other choice now but to resign as director of sport for the Norwegian Cycling Federation.

Kjaergaard said he had used some other drugs including cortisone. "I've had a big problem with my own conscience and feel like hell with myself. I cannot carry the lie any more, so I am sitting here today," he said.

Harald Tiedemann Hansen, president of the Norwegian Cycling Federation, said he was relieved that Steffen had finally spoken the truth. "We expect Steffen now to contact Doping Norway."

Kjaergaard also won the overall World Cup in track cycling in 1993.

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