This is a hard thing to talk about, but Iíd like to tell the truth about my experience of doping. Iíve been shocked by the stories and rumours of organised doping programmes because Iíve simply never seen anything like that.
My experience was very different. My doping was done by me, and nobody ever forced me. Of course, I always knew it was wrong and was scared of the risks I was taking. And I will always regret what I did.
I took EPO on a few occasions from 1998 to 2000. It was very easy to get hold of and I knew it couldnít be detected. I was a fairly young rider, the opportunity was there right in front of me and it was a pretty big challenge to stay away from the temptation. There was no pressure at all from my team, the Directors or the Doctors to take it. This was my choice.
I stopped because it was wrong and it wasnít worth the risks Ė to my health, to the family I wanted, or of getting caught. The years after Iíd stopped doping were sometimes hard. But cycling was slowly getting better and I managed to win races clean. I think the Ďwhereabouts systemí and biological passport were great things for this sport.
Iíve always believed that everyone should take responsibility for their own decisions and itís easy to see that I made entirely the wrong ones in the past. I made my biggest mistakes a long time ago but I need to admit this so I can move on. I want to stay in this sport but I know that it canít be with Team Sky. Itís sad to be leaving but there's no other option.
Iíve learned a lot at Team Sky and have great people around me. We came into the sport with big ambitions, and I'm proud I was part of building this team. Itís hard to let go but after three amazing years I donít want a price to be paid later, by me or the team. I donít want to let these people down.
The discussions going on in Team Sky have given me the chance to be honest about all this. Some might think I could have kept quiet, but this is a good chance for me to talk openly, the best moment to admit my mistakes. Itís time to talk.
I love this sport and it has been a huge part of my life. With the steps we've been taking in cycling there is a better chance than ever to compete in a clean sport. Iím certainly committed to that and everybody Iíve worked with can assure you that's the case.
I truly regret what I did. And I believe itís important that if you make a mistake you can still get a chance in life. It would be a huge regret if my mistakes of 12 years ago meant I could no longer work in cycling. People might accept and forgive if we can only tell them what happened.
This admission has been a big shock to my girlfriend, family and friends, and I am thankful for all the support they are giving me. After this difficult decision I need to re-establish their confidence in me and to prove to my girlfriend and kids that I can give them the future we want.
I hope very much to stay in this sport, and Iím sure I can play my part in its clean future.