DENVER -- Cyclist Philip Zajicek has been banned for life after admitting to multiple doping violations in a case stemming from an investigation into EPO and human-growth hormone trafficking from China for nearly 200 athletes.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Friday that Zajicek admitted to a second doping offense for purchasing EPO, a third doping offense for providing false testimony at an arbitration hearing and for encouraging other witnesses to provide false testimony.
About a dozen athletes around the world have been penalized in this case, including American riders Jonathan Chodroff and Duane Dickey.
One of the key figures in the case was cyclist Joe Papp, who served as an intermediary between the athletes and Chinese sellers of the performance-enhancing drugs in 2006 and 2007.
Last year, Papp pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to sell human growth hormone and EPO over the Internet. Prosecutors said he earned more than $80,000 selling the drugs to 187 customers, including cyclists and other athletes.
Zajicek is a former U.S. junior champion who received a first sanction in 2004 after testing positive for a stimulant.
In the current case, he initially was cleared of any wrongdoing, but USADA appealed and eventually got him to admit to the violations. Zajicek, 32, will pay USADA $5,000 for expenses associated with his conduct.
"He came around and ultimately did the right thing," USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. "It's a case that highlights a real ugly part of pro cycling, a culture that encourages athletes to cheat with these dangerous drugs. Then, when confronted with the truth of their cheating, they think it's acceptable to also attempt to cover it up through the legal process by testifying untruthfully."
Papp is a former midlevel rider who has been a key USADA informant since admitting in 2006 that he cheated. Papp, who says systematic doping goes on in cycling, was a USADA witness in the 2007 arbitration case that resulted in Floyd Landis having his Tour de France title stripped.
Landis subsequently admitted he doped and has accused Lance Armstrong and others of cheating, as well. The Landis allegations helped set in motion a federal investigation into cycling, with Armstrong and his teams the focus of the probe.
Though not directly linked, cases stemming from the USADA investigation have been popping up regularly since the federal probe began in earnest last summer.