Team Garmin-Sharp cyclists Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie all admitted to doping after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released its report Wednesday on Lance Armstrong.
The trio of the Boulder-based cycling team were among 11 former Armstrong teammates who testified against the seven-time Tour de France champion, saying they were doping while with Armstrong's teams.
All three said they were caught up in cycling's doping culture and all stated they were riding clean well before 2008 when they joined Slipstream, the umbrella company that runs Garmin-Sharp and which requires weekly doping tests.
Danielson, 34, a Boulder resident and Fort Lewis College graduate, finished ninth in last year's Tour de France. He joined Garmin-Sharp in 2008. In an 18-page affidavit given to USADA, he said he was pressured into doping after he joined Armstrong's Discovery Channel team in 1995.
"Along the road to following my dream, I've had several ups and downs, but I stuck with it because I love the sport," Danielson said in the statement. "I never set out thinking I would cross a line. I set out simply wanting to compete, to race my bike and do what I love. And that is exactly what I did, clean.
"Then, after years of doing things the right way, I was presented with a choice that to me did not feel like a choice at all. In the environment that I was in, it felt like something I had to do in order to continue following my dream. I crossed the line and that is something I will always be sorry for. I accept responsibility for my choices and apologize to everyone in my life for them — in and out of the sport."
Vande Velde, 36, a former Boulder resident, was an Armstrong teammate with U.S. Postal Service from 1998-2003.
In August he won the USA Pro Challenge with a charge on the last day through the streets of Denver.
"I have failed and I have succeeded in one of the most humbling sports in the world. And today is the most humbling moment of my life," he said in a statement. "As a young pro rider I competed drug free, not winning but holding my own and achieving decent results.
"Then, one day, I was presented with a choice that to me, at the time, seemed like the only way to continue to follow my dream at the highest level of the sport. I crossed the line, a decision that I deeply regret. I was wrong to think I didn't have a choice — the fact is that I did and I chose wrong."
Zabriskie, 33, was an Armstrong teammate with U.S. Postal from 2001-04 before joining Team CSC from 2005-07 then coming to Slipstream with Vande Velde in 2008. Zabriskie has won seven national time trial championships, four after joining Slipstream.
He said his father's "long history of substance use and addiction" kept him from using drugs and saw cycling as a healthy outlet. When he turned pro in 2000, he said cycling was "rampant with doping." He also didn't mention what team he doped with but indications are he began doping early in his pro career. His first Pro Tour team was U.S. Postal.
"After distinguishing myself in an important race, management presented me with drugs and instructed me on how to proceed," he said in the statement. "I was devastated. I was shocked. I had never used drugs and never intended to. I questioned, I resisted but in the end, I felt cornered and succumbed to the pressure.
"After one week I stopped. I subsequently succumbed in less than a handful of confined instances, never making it a systematic part of my training practices or race routines. But it happened and I couldn't be sorrier."
All three said they jumped at the chance to join Denver native Jonathan Vaughters' Slipstream program, which requires mandatory testing.
"I knew that his team was exactly what cycling needed," Danielson said. "It was exactly what I needed and I wanted to be part of it. Even though I made the choice to compete clean before Slipstream's inception, I've seen both worlds and I believe that today, cycling is in a good place and that organizations like Slipstream have helped change the sport."