The London Dynamo cycling club has issued a statement clarifying its relationship with Gabriel Evans, the 19-year-old British cyclist given a three-and-a-half year suspension for using EPO.
London Dynamo issued a statement on Thursday in the wake of UK Anti-Doping’s announcement of Evans’s ban from competition. The club has called the circumstances surrounding Evans’s ban as ‘saddening and at times bewildering’, and is seeking to distance itself from his actions. It says it was unaware that Gabriel was under investigation when he returned to racing with London Dynamo.
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“UK Anti-Doping announced today that it has banned Gabriel Evans for three and a half years for using EPO, a performance-enhancing drug. This concludes a saddening and, at times, bewildering episode for London Dynamo,” read the statement.
“Gabriel rode for London Dynamo up until the end of 2014 when he moved to the elite under-23 Catford CC Equipe/Banks team. It was in August 2015, whilst racing for and training with the Catford CC Equipe/Banks team, that Gabriel was found to be in possession of EPO by the father of a team-mate.
“Gabriel returned to racing for London Dynamo in the latter part of 2015 after he had been reported to UK Anti-Doping but before a provisional suspension was imposed on 16 October 2015.
“As a consequence of the ban, Gabriel cannot until his ban elapses on 15 April 2019 participate in any capacity in any competition, event or other activity organised, authorised or recognised by British Cycling, any other body that is a signatory to the World Anti-doping Code or funded by a government agency.
“London Dynamo has a zero-tolerance stance to doping and supports UK Anti-Doping’s decision and its consequences.”
The club says that it did not know that Evans was under investigation when he returned to racing and added that it has offered Evans support, but that he had not taken up on the offer. “Nevertheless, the club wishes Gabriel well for the future,” the statement concluded.
Evans, who won the junior 10-mile time trial title in 2015, told Cycling Weekly in December that he decided to experiment with EPO after watching a BBC Panorama programme on doping in athletics. He said that a mixture of curiosity and the loss of his junior national time trial title had led him to use EPO.
Evans’s ban runs from October 16 2015 to April 15 2019. UKAD reduced the suspension from four to three-and-a-half years due to his prompt admission and ‘immaturity’.
UKAD’s chief executive Nicole Sapstead said “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.”