Uci instructs wcc athletes not to consume meat due to clenbuterol risk

UCI president Brian Cookson has issued a warning about the risks of accidental positives in China and Mexico to all the national federations. Cookson issued this warning in wake of the positive tests for Clenbuterol, a drug for treating asthma that is used by athletes to lose body fat, concerning Tinkoff Saxo rider Michael Rogers and Crelan-Euphony rider Jonathan Breyne.

In a letter, Cookson referred to the status of the drug as an anabolic agent on the WADA’s banned list that incurs a provisional suspension if a positive A test happens. Cookson however accepted that there is the possibility of accidental positives in China and Mexico. Cookson wrote that it is widely acknowledged that there is a risk of meat contaminated with Clenbuterol leading to a positive sample in an athlete and the World Anti-Doping Agency has specifically drawn attention to this problem in China and Mexico.

Cookson also remarked that athletes who are under our care at the World Cycling Centre in Switzerland, as a consequence, have been told that they should not eat meat in these countries.

Crelan-Euphony rider Jonathan Breyne was competing in the Tour of Taihu when he tested positive for Clenbuterol, while the positive test of Tinkoff Saxo rider Michael Rogers occurred at the Japan Cup, days after he finished the Tour of Beijing. Rogers has insisted that he never knowingly consumed the drug and Breyne said the same. Breyne tried to attempt suicide in December after being immensely pressurized by the positive test for Clenbuterol but has recovered now. After Rogers’ positive test, Australian cycling legend Robbie McEwen remarked that the UCI has to take up some responsibility for any positive tests to Clenbuterol in China.

UCI spokesman Louis Chenaille, when asked if Cookson’s statement could have an impact on the disciplinary hearings by the national federations of Breyne and Rogers, said that the governing body of cycling would not be the one making the decisions in the cases. Chenaille remarked this is not a matter of us and it is for the national federations and the anti doping bodies and added we want to be professional in that we wish to alert the national federations about the risks in some countries.

The UCI spokesman added that the cycling’s governing body had information discussions with the World Anti-Doping Agency and the authorities in China in order to make sure that everyone was on the same level as regards the issue. Chenaille also remarked that the Tour of Beijing organizers, 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. He also said that measures put in place as a result of these discussions include the employment by the organizers of a dedicated cook to supervise food in all the hotels which house the riders during the race and 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.

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