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ONE of Australia's leading cycling figures, Matt White, has confessed he participated in doping while riding with Lance Armstrong and has stood down as a national official and director of Australia's GreenEDGE cycling team.
In a statement released late last night, White, who is Cycling Australia's professional men's road co-ordinator and an Olympic selector, said he was aware his name had been raised during an American investigation into doping activities at the US Postal Service team.
''I am sad to say that I was part of a team where doping formed part of the team's strategy, and I too was involved in that strategy,'' the statement said.
''I am sorry for the people I have let down because of the personal choice I made at that time, but I have endeavoured to educate and guide the current stars and to ensure that future generations never have to deal with the pressures that existed in the past.''
Given these admissions, the statement said, he would stand down from his positions with GreenEDGE and the national men's high performance program with Cycling Australia.
White said he would not comment further until these organisations examined his case and made determinations about his future.
White, 38, is the first Australian casualty from the US Anti-Doping Agency's damning 1000-page plus report on the US Postal team's doping regime, which found the team conducted the ''most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen''.
White was named in the sensational ''reasoned decision'' released on Thursday by the anti-doping agency. His name appeared in evidence submitted by disgraced former teammate Floyd Landis, whose 2006 Tour de France win was annulled after he tested positive to testosterone.
''While training for that Vuelta [the Spanish tour in 2003], I spent a good deal of time training with Matthew White and Michael Barry [a Canadian, who has admitted to doping] and shared the testosterone and EPO [erythropoietin] that we had and discussed the use thereof while training,'' Landis says in his affidavit.
Earlier yesterday, GreenEDGE had continued to support White. The team's general manager Shayne Bannan told the Cyclingnews website: ''We fully support Matthew White and trust his integrity as a sports director with us.''
After White's confession, GreenEDGE issued a statement. ''We support Matt White's decision to step down from his position with the team during the process of evaluating his involvement in the revelations put forward by the recently released USADA report.
''We hope for a quick and clear resolution of this issue and will await the decision of the relevant authorities,'' the statement said.
In his statement, White said that ''in my roles with Slipstream Sports, Cycling Australia and now at ORICA-GreenEDGE, I have always acted within the ethos of clean sport and I am very proud to have worked with the new generation of clean superstars.
''A lot has changed for the better, cycling is totally different now, and I have seen these changes as an athlete and also in management with my own eyes in the last decade.''
''The approach that many riders of my generation had cannot be repeated, and I believe that cycling now has the most rigorous and complete testing regimes of any sport,'' White added.
It is understood that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency will now investigate White's use of performance-enhancing drugs.
A legal complication may arise due to an eight-year statute of limitations. The statute can be overridden only if the accused had been deliberately falsifying information, as USADA found with Armstrong.
White, a two-time Olympian, rode in the Armstrong-led US Postal Service team from 2001 to 2003.
ASADA said yesterday it could not comment on individual cases.