Damian Sharp is seen here just after he crossed the finish line in the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race earlier this year. The former Bermuda Police officer has left the island and returned to his native England. *Photo by Don Burgess
Damian Sharp is seen here just after he crossed the finish line in the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race earlier this year. The former Bermuda Police officer has left the island and returned to his native England. *Photo by Don Burgess

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, (UPDATE WEDNESDAY NOV. 9): The cycling community is reeling in shock after it was announced that Damian Sharp was guilty of using a performance-enhancing drug.

Sharp, a police officer who rode for the Bicycle Works team, is banned for two years from running afoul of the Bermuda’s sports drug testing laws.

The Bermuda Sport Anti Doping Authority said Sharp was found to have erythropoietin (EPO) in his system after being randomly tested after a race in July.

Sharp waived his right to a hearing and admitted his use of EPO and accepted a two year ban starting on August 18, 2011 and running through August 17, 2013

Abhorrent

He has since left Bermuda and is thought to have returned to England.

He becomes the first resident to be caught using performance-enhancing drugs other than a body builder.

Neil de ste Croix, team president and sponsor for Bicycle Works, said: “I was in shock when I was first informed.

“I’m disappointed that a policeman who approached us to ride for our team then turned out to be a cheat.

“I find that quite abhorrent.

“I’m just gob-smacked as to why someone would try and cheat in local racing. We’re a bunch of old guys racing. There are a few young guys, but the whole thing is for fun.

“It’s not like it’s international competition. We’re very, very disappointed.

“After that event, we never saw him again. He never came back into the shop. He never said anything to us and he literally disappeared into the dead of the night.

“This is just sad.

“We have a contract with all our riders that specifically relates to drugs — we never thought we’d have to rely on that.

Disgusted

“The bigger picture is that this stuff is available on the island is scary.

“It’s something we thought we were insulated from here.”

De ste Croix said his credentials included being the police national champion.

Several other cyclists, who did not want to be named, but said they too were “shocked” and “disgusted” over Sharp’s cheating.

The Bermuda Bicycle Association issued a statement saying it “completely supports” the anti-doping efforts.

The cycling association added it “applauds” the decision to ban Sharp.

“Doping at any level of sport is cheating and this was a clear instance of an individual attempting to gain a competitive edge by cheating.

“It is a shock to the BBA and a disservice to the sport of cycling that a recreational athlete should choose to resort to such illegal and immoral methods in order to gain an advantage in local races.

“Though the athlete has since left Bermuda, all relevant cycling governing bodies have been informed of the violation and will enforce the ban as they see fit.”

Warning

The release added that the BBA “hopes this violation serves as a clear warning to all local athletes”.

Cathy Belvedere, executive director for the BSADA, said: “It is very disappointing when we find that an athlete has cheated.

“However, it is even more disconcerting when we find out that the substance is as dangerous and sophisticated as EPO. 

“This high risk substance with dangerous affects on the human body was being used by an athlete competing in a mid level local competition. ”