Former Lance Armstrong teammate, Steffen Kjaersgaard, addressed the same conference in Oslo, Norway this week – as USADA’s Travis Tygart – concerning the past "doping" culture that he was subjected to during his tenure with the US Postal Service team.
Following an impassioned speech by Tygart, the 40-year-old Kjaersgaard took to the stage -adding his story to the many others from the US Postal Service team who have admitted to "doping".
According to Kjærsgaard, similar to David Zabriskie, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Michael Barry and Tom Danielson, his decision to give in to "doping" came slowly And, at the time, the culture of doping in the sport made it impossible to compete while "clean".
"When I took the choice to begin doping, there were no consequences to doping yourself. When I started my first EPO course in May 1998, the fear of being caught was absent and it felt completely safe," he said.
"Most were opposed to doping," he continued. "Those who were a few years older than me were opposed to doping like me, but they had resigned to the culture that dominated the peloton."
Kjærsgaard said that his decision to "dope" came after an unsuccessful season with the TVM team in 1997 while trying to race "clean".
"I decided to pack up and go home. But in 1997 I got a call from Kim Andersen, who asked if I would be part of a small Danish team. My immediate feeling was no, but I had come this far and I was so close to the target, but still so far away."
Two weeks later, Kjearsgaard relented, and joined the Chicky World team. And, by the spring of 1998 he had started with EPO, cortisone and other drugs.
"It came naturally," he said. He rode two seasons with the Danish team before moving on to US Postal Service in 2000, where he stayed for the next four seasons.
During his speech, Kjærgaard gave no excuses for his behavior or his choices.
"This is more of an explanation of the choices I made, rather than a rationalization. I’m still sorry on behalf of Norwegian sport, but mostly because of the family: wife, mom and my dad," he said.
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