Ingezonden

Jonathan Vaughters, team manager of Garmin-Shar, admitted to doping during his career (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

In an up front and honestly written piece in The New York Times, Jonathan Vaughters, the manager of Garmin-Sharp team and a voice in the anti-doping movement, has come clean about his past life as professional cyclist.
It’s something he’s not proud of but with the pressure of a dream to
make the ‘big time’ he was unable to fight the desire to get “that last 2
percent”.

“The choice to kiss your childhood dream goodbye or live with a
dishonest heart is horrid and tearing. I’ve been there, and I know. I
chose to lie over killing my dream. I chose to dope. I am sorry for that
decision, and I deeply regret it. The guilt I felt led me to retire
from racing and start a professional cycling
team where that choice was taken out of the equation through rigorous
testing and a cultural shift that emphasized racing clean above
winning,” Vaughters wrote.

Vaughters has long stood by his stance against doping since his
retirement, enforcing strict policies within his team and being vocal
with the general public about his thoughts and ideas on how to fight
doping within cycling. His opinions have always been projected through his team and his belief that it is possible to win clean despite his “colourful past”.

“The answer is not to teach young athletes that giving up lifelong
dreams is better than giving in to cheating. The answer is to never give
them the option. The only way to eliminate this choice is to put our
greatest efforts into [the] anti-doping enforcement.”

Despite the tough line against doping in sport, Vaughters has
welcomed those who have cheated in the past into his team, providing the
proper measures have been taken by both athlete and his team, to ensure
they are on the ‘clean’ path. David Millar and Thomas Dekker were welcomed back into the sport through the Garmin team and Millar has since become a spokesperson in the fight against doping.

Vaughters has long had a cloud hanging above him due to his time spent at US Postal and the ongoing case into systematic doping
in the team during the years of Lance Armstrong. However, having
finally admitted his poor choices during his time as a professional, he
is ready to turn his attention and efforts back towards ensuring the
younger generation are not faced with such decisions as they attempt to
pursue their own dreams.

“Everyone wants a fair chance, not more. So, let’s give our young
athletes a level playing field, without doping. Let’s put our effort and
resources into making sport fair, so that no athlete faces this
decision ever again. We put so much emotion into marketing and idolizing
athletes, let’s put that same zeal into giving them what they really
want: the ability to live their dreams without compromising their
morals.”

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