Danish cyclist Høj admits to doping

Frank Høj has admitted to using EPO but denied charges that he smuggled drugs into the Danish team's Olympic Village quarters in Athens.

Danish cyclist Høj admits to doping
Frank Høj. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
Danish former professional road cyclist Frank Høj on Sunday admitted to doping at the beginning of his career, but claimed he stopped in 1998 after the Festina drug scandal.
“As a neo-professional, I unfortunately have to … admit that I tried to ride using EPO,” he told Danish broadcaster TV2, referring to a banned blood-booster.
“I have tried to take it. I probably haven't taken it in the amounts that would have produced results,” he added.
The 42-year-old said he stopped doping himself in 1998, when the Festina drug scandal on the Tour de France almost brought the race to its knees.
He denied claims by Michael Rasmussen that he had smuggled the doping substance Synacthen to the Danish team inside the Olympic Village — and used it himself — in Athens in 2004.
“You can go in and look at my results in the period until the Festina scandal. They are not impressive. After the Festina scandal I never wanted to touch any” banned substances, he said.
Rasmussen quit the 2007 Tour de France when he was wearing the race leader's yellow jersey and admitted in 2013 that he had used banned drugs between 1998 and 2010.
Høj won the Danish national championship in 1998 and finished in the top ten in the road race at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
He became a professional in 1995 and rode in the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana before retiring in 2010.

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‘The Vikings also wore helmets’: Danes draw on marauding past for cycle safety ad

The Danish Road Safety Council has put the Scandinavian country's Viking past to a hilarious new use: convincing macho Danish men to wear cycle helmets.

'The Vikings also wore helmets': Danes draw on marauding past for cycle safety ad
Svend the Viking does not want to ruin his braids. Photo: &Co

The council’s new advert, “Helmet has always been a good idea”, brings together two somewhat incongruous aspects of Danish life — the country’s love of cycling and its Viking past, using humour to show up some of the silly reasons people give themselves not to wear cycle helmets. 

The advert starts with the imposing Viking chief Svend rousing his men for their next invasion of England. To rhythmic chanting and the blowing of horns, he mounts his steed, brandishing his thick and heavy sword. 

Then, suddenly, his young son comes running bearing his helmet. Svend ignores him, and utters a cry: “To the ships!”. 

After a pause, one of his men nervously asks: “shouldn’t you have a helmet on, Svend?”. 

“No, it’s annoying and it makes my scalp itch,” Svend responds sheepishly. 

“I’m a careful rider,” he adds, slightly desperately.

“What do I do when I get there? Run around in a silly helmet?” he adds. 

Then he roars, “It ruins my braids!” 

It’s only when his wife comes out that he finally dons his gleaming headpiece and with the cheers of his fellow marauders all around him makes his way to the longships. 

Then the slogan — “A helmet has been a good idea for all time” — appears on the screen in rune-like writing.