September 13, 2005 – After today’s shocking news that National team mountain bike member, Chris Sheppard, was given a two-year suspension yesterday when he tested positive for EPO, Pedal caught up with Kris Westwood, the CCA’s High Performance Director, to discuss the situation.
With today’s news that Sheppard has tested positive – what effect will it have on the Canadian cycling community. Will this prompt more testing of Canadian athletes? Will the CCES be testing more of Canada’s top cyclists?
KW: Obviously I can’t speak for the CCES or what their priorities are, but I think this would give more scrutiny to our sport. I’m not sure if it will make a dramatic difference but as I said, I can’t speak for the CCES.
Will Chris Sheppard release a statement or hold a press conference?
KW: I don’t know. I have not spoken with Chris during the entire process. I’ve only spoken through his legal counsel and do not know what he plans to do.
Did he appeal his B Sample? Why did it take so long?
KW: I wouldn’t “appealing his sample”. I’d say he exercised the rights given to him as an athlete – to a hearing and so on.
How frustrating is it for you, and the CCA? Doping problems are all over the news, especially in cycling communities in Europe. How does it feel to see an example of it here in Canada?
KW: I think as Canadians we all think we are immunue to the doping problem but obviously this proves we are not. However, I will say that I still believe the system works best here in Canada and that we are one of the cleanest, if not the cleanes countries in the world, both for cycling and other sports. But definitely this will unfortunately provoke more cynicism towards Canadian athletes.
It’s just disappointing. You could make a list of all the athletes, sponsors, and so on that will be negatively affected by one athlete’s positive test. It will likely make it harder for the CCA to get more sponsorship, for example, after something like this.