UCI states it is studying food safety issue after Rogers’ and Breynes’ Clenbuterol positives
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Friday, December 27, 2013

UCI states it is studying food safety issue after Rogers’ and Breynes’ Clenbuterol positives

by Shane Stokes at 3:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Governing body to speak to WADA and others on matter; says positives are investigated on a case by case basis

UCIThe UCI has issued an assurance that precautions were taken at this year’s Tour of Beijing to safeguard against riders testing positive for Clenbuterol, saying that steps were followed to prevent contamination of the banned substance in food.

China is one of the countries previously highlighted by WADA as having a known problem with the black market use of the chemical, which can at as a lean meat promoter in animals.

The governing body announced last week that Tinkoff Saxo rider Michael Rogers had tested positive in the Japan Cup, days after competing in the Tour of Beijing. Rogers issued a statement saying that he had never deliberately ingested the substance and that he believed the positive test was caused by food contamination.

That prompted questions about whether procedures had indeed been put in place to protect riders, something the UCI has now assured was done.

“The Tour of Beijing organisers, the UCI, the local authorities and the teams have been discussing the issue of food safety since the first edition of the race in 2011,” UCI spokesman Louis Chenaille told VeloNation in response to questions on the matter.

“Measures put in place as a result of these discussions include the employment by the organisers of a dedicated cook to supervise food in all the hotels which house the riders during the race.”

In 2010 Rogers’ current team-mate Alberto Contador – who was with Astana at the time – tested positive for the same substance. However he had ingested Spanish meat, something which the Court of Arbitration for Sport later dismissed as being a possible cause.

Chenaille acknowledged that some other countries do have a greater likelihood of problems. “The UCI and WADA are clearly aware that there is a risk of food contamination in certain regions/countries such as China and Mexico that can cause adverse analytical findings for Clenbuterol,” he said. “Currently the presence of Clenbuterol is considered as an anti-doping rule violation which is investigated on a case by case basis.”

Few details have yet merged about Rogers’ case, but more information is likely to become available in the weeks and months ahead. The rider stated that he stayed in China until October 17th, two days after the Tour of Beijing ended. It remains to be seen if he only ate food provided by the organisers during that time, or if he also consumed meals prepared by others after the race ended.

Tinkoff Saxo CEO Stefano Feltrin said today that he too was trying to get more details. “I have requested information internally. We have just had Christmas and so we will have to wait until we have all the facts,” he told VeloNation.

“The Clenbuterol issue is clearly something that needs to be addressed, it is a concern to many. Half-joking with my colleagues, I asked if being a professional athlete now means that you have also to be a vegetarian? This is a valid question, however, given the tests but also the possibility of contamination.”

He said that the timescale moving forward was not yet clear.

Meanwhile the UCI has verified that Clenbuterol testing was carried out at the race, thus dismissing rumours circulating that it was not done at the Tour of Beijing in order to avoid any public relations issues pertaining to food contamination. “All tests at the Tour of Beijing had this as routine,” stated Chenaille.

He said that the governing body would consult others to see if anything needed to be changed for future editions.

“The UCI will be discussing this issue with all parties concerned, particularly with WADA, to see if there are improvements which can be made to the current regulatory structure and the arrangements in place at the race,” he said.

It is something which the Tour of Taihu organisers will likely also pay attention to, given that the Crelan-Euphony rider Jonathan Breyne was confirmed as testing positive for Clenbuterol there.

While it is too early to say if both cases were indeed due to tainted meat, the possibility that riders could be at risk of exposure to the banned substance by racing in China, Mexico and elsewhere will be a big concern.

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