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Former cyclist Grischa Niermann suspended after admitting to doping

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Grischa Niermann admitted to using EPO from 2000-2003 while racing for the Rabobank team.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- The Dutch cycling union suspended former German rider Grischa Niermann for six months on Monday after he admitted using EPO from 2000-2003 while racing for the Rabobank professional team.

Niermann became a coach employed by the Dutch union when Rabobank officially halted its sponsorship of men's professional cycling on Jan. 1.

The 37-year-old Niermann said he will divulge further details of his EPO use to anti-doping authorities and a commission set up by the country's cycling authorities to investigate doping in the sport.

"I want to use my negative experience as a teaching tool for the younger generation so they are never faced with the same choice as me," Niermann said in a statement. "I also am fighting for a clean sport."

He received a sixth-month suspension rather than the standard two-year ban. Under a Dutch policy, cyclists who confess to doping can receive a reduced sanction if the offense took place before 2008.

The cycling union said Niermann's suspension would come into force Feb. 15.

"I think it is brave that Grischa has made this statement," the union's director, Huib Kloosterhuis, said.

Niermann said on Twitter that he had a difficult time reaching the decision to admit his doping past.

"I went through hell and back the last weeks, but I decided that this is the only possible way to go for me," he said.

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