Steffen Kjaergaard admits doping

OSLO, Norway -- Another former teammate of Lance Armstrong has admitted using banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Retired Norwegian rider Steffen Kjaergaard said Tuesday that he had used EPO and cortisone, and was immediately suspended from his job at the Norwegian Cycling Federation.

"I have long thought that it was best for cycling as a sport that I took this (secret) to the grave. But the last weeks have made me change course for my own sake and tell the truth," Kjaergaard said.

The 39-year-old Kjaergaard said he decided to come clean because of doping revelations in recent weeks involving the U.S. Postal Service team, and that he "couldn't bear the lie anymore."

Kjaergaard rode with Armstrong in the U.S. Postal Service team when the American won the Tour de France in 2000 and 2001. He said he wasn't aware of any of his teammates using banned substances, "but I assume there were others."

On Monday, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the International Cycling Union after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency detailed evidence of drug use and trafficking by his Tour-winning teams.

"I have not directly witnessed anyone else dealing with this. That's why I do not want to expose anyone else," Kjaergaard said.

Kjaergaard won several Norwegian championships but no major international races before retiring in 2003.

His admission dented Norway's self-image as a "clean" nation in the forefront of the fight against doping in sports. Kjaergaard was removed from his job as sports director for the Norwegian Cycling Federation.

"This is a sad day for Norwegian cycling, but we wanted to have this out in the light," said federation President Harald Tiedemann Hansen at the joint news conference with Kjaergaard.

"He has admitted to doping and he has nothing to do with the cycling world anymore," Tiedemann Hansen told The Associated Press. "He has been suspended until his term ends on Dec. 31 and he will not continue in the job."


Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.