Nicki Sorensen has said he’s “embarrassed” by his doping past, saying he was told by professional cyclists at the time that “this is how it worked”.
The Danish former pro has for the first time opened up about his decision to use doping products from the beginning of his career in the late 1990s until “around 2004”.
“I’m embarrassed by what happened,” he told Danish television network TV2. “I felt a bit like a victim at the time, but it was still my choice to do so.
“I was told by professional cyclists that this is how it worked. That was the only way. Then I made the difficult choice to jump on that wagon.”
Since retiring in 2014, Sorensen has worked as a sports director for Tinkoff-Saxo, Aqua Blue Sport and Israel Start-Up Nation, where he is currently employed. He says his place in the sport, despite his doping past, is one where he can show young riders there is an alternative path to the one he took.
“One might ask the question: ‘What is my place in cycling today as sports director?’ I feel I can show the young people that [doping] is not the way to go,” he said.
During his career, Sorensen won a stage of the Tour de France in 2009 as well as a stage of the Vuelta a España in 2005. He was also Danish national road race champion on four occasions, taking his first title in 2003, followed by another victory in 2008, before back-to-back wins in 2010 and 2011.
Sorensen turned pro with Chicky World in 1999, before the next 14 years, the rest of his racing career, with Team Saxo Bank.
The team stood by him at the time of his doping admission in 2015, saying Sorensen had “expressed his deep regret” and had fully complied with the team’s anti-doping practices during his time with them.