UCI instructs World Cycling Centre athletes not to consume meat in China and Mexico due to Clenbuterol risk
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

UCI instructs World Cycling Centre athletes not to consume meat in China and Mexico due to Clenbuterol risk

by Shane Stokes at 6:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Governing body also warns national federations and teams of dangers

UCIFollowing in the wake of the positive tests for Clenbuterol concerning Tinkoff Saxo rider Michael Rogers and Crelan-Euphony rider Jonathan Breyne, UCI president Brian Cookson has issued a warning to all of the national federations about the risks of accidental positives in China and Mexico.

In the letter, he referred to Clenbuterol’s status as an anabolic agent on WADA’s banned list, as one which has no permitted threshold and which incurs a provisional suspension as soon as a positive A test occurs.

However he accepted that there is the possibility of accidental positives in two countries, one of which being where Rogers and Breyne were both racing.

“It is widely acknowledged that there is a risk of meat contaminated with clenbuterol leading to a positive sample in an athlete. WADA has specifically drawn attention to this problem in China and Mexico,” he wrote.

“As a consequence the athletes who are under our care at the World Cycling Centre in Switzerland have been told that they should not eat meat in these countries. We believe that as a matter of caution you should consider giving this advice to all your athletes.”

Breyne was competing in the Tour of Taihu wen he tested positive, while Rogers’ positive test occurred at the Japan Cup, days after he finished the Tour of Beijing in China.

Both Breyne and Rogers are due to undergo disciplinary hearings by their national federations. There is no news as yet about the outcome.

Asked if Cookson’s communication plus the acknowledgement of possible accidental positives could impact on those hearings, UCI spokesman Louis Chenaille said that the governing body would not be the one making the decisions in the cases.

“This is not a matter for us, it is for the national federations and the anti doping bodies,” he told VeloNation today. “We want to be professional in that we wish to alert the national federations about the risks in some countries. That is the main point. People are expecting us to advise them, so as a ruling body we thought it would be good to send this letter. We also sent a similar warning to race organisers and some teams as well, to the cycling family."

He added that the UCI had had information discussions with WADA and the Chinese authorities in order to ensure that everyone was on the same page as regards the issue. “It’s important to be very careful,” he said.

In the past cyclists and other sportspeople have been given lengthy bans after testing positive for Clenbuterol. However the UCI’s acknowledgement would appear to pave the way for some relaxation of sanctions in the Rogers and Breyne cases. The riders’ national federations or national anti-doping bodies will be the ones to decide if and how they should be penalised; the UCI would then be in a position to decide whether or not it would appeal the rulings.

Rogers has insisted that he never knowingly consumed Clenbuterol. Breyne has said the same, and was so pressurised by the positive test that he reportedly attempted suicide in December. He was taken to hospital and recovered.

He spoke to Sudinfo prior to his suicide attempt. “The news hit me like it was the world collapsed on me. What have I done to deserve this? Nothing, absolutely nothing. I never took anything,” he insisted. “But how to prove that when the events took place in China?”

Asked if there was a possibility that other South American countries beside Mexico could have issues with Clenbuterol, Chenaille said that there were no indications thus far of that. “We have been focussing on these two countries,” he said. “It is well known that past cases have surfaced in Mexico and China, and not only in cycling. We focussed mainly on these countries.”

He said that there was no question of the UCI cancelling the Tour of Beijing, a race it has connections to via its Global Cycling Promotions arm. “The Tour of Beijing is an important asset for cycling,” he said.

Instead, it appears likely that the race organisers and others will have to ensure that there is zero risk of contamination in the future, with a strict control on certain foods being likely.

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