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Cycling coach admits role in doping ring

Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:48 PM   |   Comments

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A Colorado cycling coach has admitted he helped cyclist Levi Leipheimer buy performance-enhancing drugs in the 1990s.

Rick Crawford, 53, now the cycling coach at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction volunteered the information to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in October, The Denver Post said Wednesday. Crawford told the agency he would regularly drive to Mexico to buy the banned substance EPO for Leipheimer and an unnamed second cyclist who is no longer competing.

"I wanted to get it out. It felt ugly the whole time," Crawford said.

He said his role in the doping scandal that's enveloped the sport and recently led to Lance Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles was relatively minor by comparison. Crawford said his role in doping ended in 2001 and he never provided banned substances to any collegiate athletes he coached.

Crawford voluntarily submitted to 500 hours of service to the Anti-Doping Agency's community education program in the next five years and signed a pledge never to violate doping policies, lest he face a lifetime ban.

"While Mr. Crawford's prior violations are not condoned, his acceptance of responsibility is commendable and his commitment to provide public contrition and future community service are tangible evidence of an effort to make amends for his past wrongdoing," said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart.

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