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Year-long SAIDS probe nets 3 cyclists for doping violations

Men's stage winners, Team Trek Selle San Marco 2 riders, Fabian Rabensteiner (L) and Michele Casagrande (R) during the 67km stage 7 of the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 March 2018. EPA-EFE/Kim Ludbrook

Cape Town - A year-long investigation and tip-offs from whistleblowers has resulted in bans for three cyclists in the past 18 months, says the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDS).

According to the SAIDS website , the organisation’s CEO Khalid Galant revealed that the convictions arose from “phase one of an investigation being undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Priority Crimes and Investigations (the Hawks)”.

The investigation would “continue to look at athletes, medical doctors, coaches and trainers and whether they have a role in a doping supply network”.

SAIDS announced that one of the three was veteran mountain biker Shan Wilson , who has been banned for six years after being found guilty on five counts.

These were:

– The presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in a sample

– Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of the doping control process

– Trafficking or attempted trafficking in any prohibited substance or prohibited method

– Administration or attempted administration to any athlete in-competition or out-of-competition of any prohibited substance or prohibited method

– Complicity (being involved with others in acts that are breaches of the regulations)

Wilson was initially tested in-competition on March 25, 2014. This sample was negative based on the scientific, analytical protocols that were validated at that time. An investigation into the cyclist triggered a retroactive test on his stored sample utilising current analytical methods. These new methods were able to determine whether the testosterone in his sample was from an exogenous (external) source. Testosterone from an exogenous source and its metabolites were found in his system. His other charges arose from the ongoing investigation.

All Wilson’s results, rankings, medals and prize money have been expunged for a period of two years from that date (March 25, 2014). His fifth place in the Grand Masters category at the 2018 Absa Cape Epic has also been removed.

A prominent South African female mountain biker, reported by the BikeHub website to be Carmen Buchacher, was earlier banned for two years after an adverse analytical finding for EPO (Erythropoietin) when she was tested on the March 3 this year. She was a regular podium finisher at events in the Western Cape.

The third athlete, a national level cyclist, has not been named as he has appealed his four-year ban. He was charged for suspicious variations in his Athlete Biological Passport, which he could not explain to SAIDS’s satisfaction.

“The investigation was triggered in significant part by whistleblowers and we are very grateful to their efforts to keep sport clean” said Galant. DM

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