Berlin - Former professional cyclist Grischa Niermann has been suspended for six months after admitting using banned substances while riding for Dutch team Rabobank.
Niermann, 37, who took part in the Tour de France nine times, confessed to using the outlawed blood booster EPO between 2000 and 2003 and has been suspended by the Dutch cycling union.
He retired last October and became a youth coach with the Dutch union in January, but is now suspended from February 15 having admitted using EPO.
"I went through hell and back the last weeks, but I decided that this is the only possible way to go for me," the German wrote on his Twitter account.
Niermann has said he will divulge details of when he used EPO to anti-doping authorities and had been motivated to confess by a desire to clean up the sport.
"Thanks to the people around me, I realised in 2003 that the use of illegal substances is not the way I want to go," Niermann added in a statement.
"I want to use my negative experience to help the younger generation so they are never faced with the same choice as me. I also am fighting for a clean sport."