Tim O'Shannessey's dreams of riding at the Sydney Olympic Games have been shattered after his suspension from the Australian Institute of Sport cycling squad.
The Burnie cyclist is one of three riders suspended from the programme over drug offences.
O'Shannessey, 26, could not be contacted last night and his father Des said he had no comment to make on the suspension.
``I haven't been talking to Tim and I don't know his whereabouts,'' he said.
``Maybe he will want to make a statement in a couple of days' time.''
The other cyclists are time triallist Josh Kersten and pursuiter Tim Lyons with the suspension for O'Shannessey and Lyons starting last Friday and Kersten's yesterday.
There is no suggestion the three cyclists took banned substances but they are under investigation after allegedly breaking their AIS scholarship agreements by taking medication without the approval of head coach Charlie Walsh or team doctor Peter Barnes.
``I am devastated that athletes in this particular programme might have breached this rule,'' said AIS director John Boultbee.
``Particularly in a sport where the issue of drugs is so high-profile _ I'm flabbergasted it could happen.'' It is understood Lyons and O'Shannessey took the same substance, but Kersten's case apparently is not related.
Boultbee said Walsh, sprint coach Gary West and other members of the track squad support staff were not under suspicion.
Walsh, heading for Texas for round two of track cycling's world cup, was unavailable for comment but is understood to be extremely upset.
O'Shannessey has been a member of the AIS track squad in Adelaide for many years and won an Olympic bronze medal in the 4000m teams pursuit in Atlanta in 1996.
He had again been training for the teams and individual pursuit in Sydney next year and is one of the longest- surviving members of Charlie Walsh's Adelaide squad.
O'Shannessey's track achievements also include the 1997 Burnie Wheel and the 1995 Devonport Wheel. He won world championship gold medals in teams pursuit at Hamar (1993) and Bogota (1995) and a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Canada in 1994.
A source at the Australian Institute of Sport said the future of the three cyclists ``didn't look too flash'' although it was uncertain whether the riders had received the analyst's report on both their A and B swab samples.