Endurance: Stuart O'Grady

Stuart O'GradyClive Mason/Getty ImagesRecently retired cyclist Stuart O'Grady admitted to blood doping during the 1998 Tour de France.
SYDNEY -- A day after retiring from professional cycling, Stuart O'Grady admitted to using a blood-booster during the scandal-plagued 1998 Tour de France.

The 39-year-old Australian rider, a six-time Olympian who wore the leader's yellow jersey for a total of nine days in 17 Tours de France, announced his retirement earlier this week after the 100th edition of the race. He admitted he used erythropoietin (EPO) for two weeks before the 1998 event, saying he acquired it himself and used it without the knowledge of his team.

His admission in an Australian newspaper came after the French senate inquiry into doping in sport released its findings and implicated dozens of cyclists for suspicious test results, uncovering evidence that 1998 Tour de France champion Marco Pantani and runner-up Jan Ullrich used EPO.

"You win Olympics, Paris-Roubaix and now all of that is going to be tainted by this action," O'Grady, who won the Madison gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and was a silver medalist in the team pursuit at the 1992 Olympics, was quoted as saying Thursday in News Corp Australia newspapers. "That's the hardest thing to swallow out of all this -- it was such a long time ago and one very bad judgment is going to taint a lot of things."

O'Grady told the newspapers he just had to "drive over the border and buy it in a pharmacy" and used "extremely cautious amounts" of EPO.

The 1998 Tour de France was notable for the major scandal that emerged with the discovery of widespread doping on the French Festina team. The subsequent police crackdown led to seven of the original 21 teams either withdrawing or being ejected from the Tour.

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