Ten days ahead of the opening round of the 2019 Enduro World Series, Chris Ball, director of the EWS has released a statement regards the ongoing anti-doping case.
Both Richie Rude and Jared Graves returned Adverse Analytical Findings at the French round of the Enduro World Series in 2018. The news broke late last year but all has been quiet since then.
Today, Enduro World Series director Chris Ball released a statement indicating that Rude and Graves will be free to compete in the 2019 series.
Read the full statement from Chris Ball below.
“I write to you as a member of the Enduro World Series (EWS) or a Team Manager of an Official EWS Team.
As we reach the final days before the 2019 season begins I’m acutely aware that the anti-doping case that hit the headlines in 2018 still remains a question for all of you. I therefore feel you deserve some information on the position of the EWS on this matter.
I am aware that there is anger and upset among the riders that the situation is not resolved. Although I understand your frustration, and your feelings too, this do not change the position of the EWS, which is bound by anti-doping regulations, legal due process and athlete rights.
The key aspect of this situation is that the EWS is 100% removed from all anti-doping cases. As it should be. We hosted the French Anti Doping Agency (AFLD) to carry out their own tests in Olargues in 2018 and we will work with any findings they formally reach following those tests. But, the details of all open cases remain entirely confidential and between only two parties; the riders who were tested, and the agency that tested them. Therefore, we have as little insight and influence on the case as you do. This may seem strange, but it is correct, both ethically and legally and must be like this in order to maintain complete impartiality and neutrality during all anti-doping investigations in all sport, from the Olympics right down to EWS. We await a formal decision as much as you do. And we will not be able to determine any steps until that decision has been made, in this case by the AFLD.
We are increasingly asked if riders under investigation will be allowed to race in our series, and the answer is yes. Why? Because regardless of your or our personal opinions, the EWS makes all decisions based on fact and evidence and therefore until a formal decision is reached by the ruling party in the case, we have no official information to follow. It is by following due process, and treating all cases in the same way, that we maintain the sport’s legitimacy in the long term. We will never treat any case any differently to another. This is not showing any sympathy towards those in question, it is simply to maintain athlete rights and the high ethical standards we believe our sport deserves and each one of you would expect should you find yourselves in a similar situation.
While a case remains open and we have no notifications of any mandatory suspensions on any riders, the only way a rider will not take the start of an EWS is if they impose a voluntary ban on themselves. The EWS will respect any decisions reached by the parties in question until an official decision is made by the agency who carried out the tests.
We truly understand your upset and understand this is an emotive topic for us all, but during these times I ask only that both the riders under investigation, and all other riders in our sport respect each other, and, like the EWS, respect the formal processes in place.”