The head of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport is defending its decision to keep quiet about cyclist Ryder Hesjedal's admission that he used performance enhancing drugs a decade ago.      

CEO Paul Melia says a statute of limitations and a confidentiality agreement prevented the centre from going public with Hesjedal's admission he doped.

Hesjedal was asked to appear before the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport last year, after a U.S. investigation uncovered past connections between riders Lance Armstrong, Michael Barry and Hesjedal.

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Ryder Hesjedal admitted publicly last month that he had doped in the past. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Melia says Hesjedal admitted to officials more than a year ago that he doped, but says the Centre is bound by its own rules.

"When we carry out investigations, we have to set up conditions that make it feel comfortable for the athlete and their lawyer to provide information," Melia says.

"So we typically set up a cooperation agreement that states that the information that is going to be provided to us by the athlete will remain confidential unless the information that's provided, we deem to be a doping violation."

International doping regulations include an eight-year statute of limitations on infractions, so Hesjedal could not be penalized, despite his confession.

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Nevertheless, Hesjedal did more than confess his use of performance enhancing drugs when he testified before it. He also provided information that's being used in ongoing investigations.

"It gives us further insights, like the Lance Armstrong case, into the tactics and techniques that athletes use to avoid testing. How they went into hiding so they couldn't be selected for doping control."

Hesjedal only publicly admitted to doping last month after Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen wrote in his new book Yellow Fever that the Victoria native used banned products, including EPO, as far back as the 2003 season.    

"I have loved and lived this sport but more than a decade ago, I chose the wrong path," said Hesjedal in a statement released by his representative, Slipstream Sports.

"Even though those mistakes happened more than 10 years ago, and they were short-lived, it does not change the fact that I made them and I have lived with that and been sorry for it ever since."