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Kiwi cyclist Ray accepts 2 1/2-year doping ban: USADA

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), announced details of a violation against New Zealand cyclist Olivia Ray. ©AFP

Washington (AFP) - New Zealand cyclist Olivia Ray has accepted a two-and-a-half year suspension for a doping violation, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced Thursday.

The 24-year-old from Auckland made a violation involving the use and possession of multiple prohibited substances, USADA said.

Ray's 30-month ban was retroactive to March 10, the day a provisional suspension was imposed.It would conclude in September 2024, a month after the end of the Paris Olympics.

All results by Ray from May 17, 2001, the day have been wiped out.That includes a victory in this year's New Zealand National Road Race Championship.

After receiving information from a whistleblower last December, USADA began an investigation that yielded evidence implicating Ray, who was living and competing in the United States at the time.

USADA said Ray fully cooperated, despite pressure not to do so, and admitted she was provided prohibited substances by another athlete, Jackson Nash, and used human growth hormone, clenbuterol and oxandrolone.

She was also found in violation for possession of clenbuterol and oxandrolone.

A four-year ban was applicable but Ray was given a one-year reduction for admitting the violation and accepting the sanction and another six months off by USADA for her assistance in the case against Nash.

"This case demonstrates the power of investigations in the fight to protect sport and athletes' rights," USADA chief executive officer Travis T. Tygart said.

"As always, we will thoroughly investigate and act on evidence of doping violations, and greatly appreciate the assistance of those who come forward on behalf of clean sport."

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