Nearly half of riders also say they know someone who has used performance enhancing drugs

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The level of doping in amateur cycling has been exposed by a BBC Sport poll that found that 14 per cent of regular cyclists surveyed had taken steroids, and almost half knew someone who had used performance-enhancing drugs.

The ComRes poll for the BBC questioned more than 1,000 amateur athletes who are members of clubs or teams from a number of different sports, around seven per cent of whom were cyclists.

Of those questioned, 14 per cent of cyclists admitted that they had taken anabolic steroids, with those who rode weekly more likely to take steroids than those who rode most days or every few days.

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26 per cent of cyclists also said that they would know where to get anabolic steroids if they wanted to.

The level of anabolic steroid use in cycling appears to be around average compared to the other sports in the survey, with the highest level of use found in rugby and boxing, at 23 per cent.

45 per cent of the cyclists in the survey said that they knew someone who had taken performance-enhancing drugs, while 60 per cent said that they thought performance-enhancing drugs were “easily available” among sports players.

Responding to the survey, Nicole Sapstead, the chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, acknowledged the problem of doping at an amateur level and called on national sports governing bodies to do more to tackle the issue.

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“The figures as regards the prevalence of performance-enhancing substances at an amateur level are incredibly alarming.

“That said, it does confirm what UK Anti-Doping has long suspected and also seen through some of our intelligence-led testing.

“I don’t think any sport can say that they don’t have a problem at an amateur level.

“I think now is the time for everybody to sit up and acknowledge that this is a reality in every single sport and that you can’t just be washing your hands of it or hoping that someone else will address it.”