This week has definitely not been a slow news day for Enduro World Series racing as Richie Rude returns amid Martin Maes’ 90 day suspension.
Enduro racing worldwide has been rocked this week by double doping revelations that have polarised opinion about the grey area that is accidental ingestion of banned substances.
Richie Rude will return to racing this weekend in Italy for the fourth round of the 2019 Enduro World Series having served an eight month suspension for testing positive for Higenamine and Oxilofrine in Olargues last May.
The official line is that Richie ran out of water towards the end of day two and was offered a water bottle by a fellow competitor, more than likely Jared Graves who also tested positive at the race. Both failed drugs tests for the same two banned substances.
It’s highly likely based on the evidence, that Richie’s B-sample wasn’t tested as he pleaded guilty early on. That would have put him in good stead for having a shortened suspension that has been served retroactively.
As the Richie Rude storm rolled through town, a hurricane followed it.
Enduro World Series Elite Men’s leader Martin Maes tested positive for the masking agent Probenecid at the opening two rounds of this year’s series and will now serve a 90-day non-intentional Anti-Doping Rule Violation.
The drug was administered by a doctor at the NZ Enduro to enhance the affects of anitbiotics prescribed to treat a burst-type laceration to his calf. The doctor did not feel that without this drug, that the wound infection would have improved.
No TUE was supplied as none of the three doctors on staff at the race were aware that the drug was on the banned substance list. The UCI also rejected an application for a retrospective TUE.
Some might have noticed that Enduro World Series have changed their former zero-tolerance policy on doping and call into question why. Does this facilitate doping? Realistically, no. Proving that an athlete has intentionally or unintentionally doped is alarmingly difficult. Loath as we are to bring Lance Armstrong into the fold, he’s the highest profile doper to have admitted to doing so, yet seems to have strolled away from it intact.
That said, in a statement yesterday, Enduro World Series have stated that “the prescription of medication outside of EWS racing that has ultimately lead to the penalty imposed on Martin Maes must serve as a lesson to all athletes, organisers, teams, coaches and medics that although the athlete will always be held responsible in the outcome of an adverse anti-doping finding, all parties in mountain bike sport must be responsible at all levels for learning and operating at the highest level, and with the best knowledge available.”
Martin’s wins at Rotorua and Blue Derby will be annulled. His Madeira victory remains intact. Even with the scrubbed opening wins. Martin still sits in 35th overall. Mathematically, he can still win the series despite the ban, but it would be a tall order.