Two-time U.S. Olympic track cyclist banned for doping

Bobby Lea
Getty Images

Two-time U.S. Olympic track cyclist Bobby Lea has been banned until December 2016 for a positive drug test but will appeal, hoping to have his ban end in March, according to Bicycling magazine.

Lea, the only U.S. men’s track cyclist to compete in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, tested positive for oxycodone on Aug. 8 and was banned for 16 months starting Sept. 10.

Lea explained in a 619-word leter on his website Thursday.

“On the night of August 7th, in a state of post-race exhaustion and having run out of my normal sleep aid, I made the poor choice to take my prescription Percocet hoping it would help me rest,” Lea said on his website. “This medication had been prescribed by a doctor to help me manage pain and sleep while traveling for competition, especially in the event of a crash. Because it was late at night, and I was trying to sleep, I failed to check my prescribed medication against the prohibited list, an action I have correctly executed hundreds of times over the years. Had I done that I would have seen that Percocet is not banned when used out of competition, but is banned in-competition. Had I done that simple check, the same simple check I’ve done in pharmacies all over the world, I would have reached for another beer or two and I would not find myself here today.

“I want to end my career on the track and not in a lawyer’s conference room, I will appeal this sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

Lea was the only U.S. men’s cyclist to earn a medal at the World Championships in February, bronze in the scratch, a non-Olympic event.

“Based on past oxycodone cases, it seems pretty clear that the sanction should be six months,” Lea said, according to the magazine. “The typical ban has been four to six months. It’s a long way from six to 16.”

MORE: Lance Armstrong intrigued by ultra marathon, obstacle-course races