UCI to meet WADA to discuss issue of clenbuterol contamination in China

News follows last week's announcements of positive tests for Michael Rogers and Jonathan Breyne

by Simon_MacMichael   December 27, 2013  

London 2012 Anti-Doping Laboratory (picture credit LOCOG)

The UCI has said that it plans to meet with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), as well as the organisers of the Tour of Beijing, to discuss food contamination in China. The news follows last week's announcements by the UCI  that the Australian rider Michael Rogers of Saxo-Tinkoff and Belgian Jonathan Breyne of the Crelan-Euphony team had both tested positive for clenbuterol while racing in the Far East.

Breyne – who attempted suicide through an overdose following the revelations – had tested positive after riding at the Tour of Taihu Lake last month. The 22-year-old insists he has never taken any banned substance.

Rogers’ positive test came after he won the Japan Cup in October. In the days beforehand, he had raced at the Tour of Beijing, and the three-time former world time trial champion blames the presence of clenbuterol in his system on food contamination.

According to Australian newspaper the Courier Mail, while the UCI has said it plans to review the situation regarding clenbuterol in countries where the substance is known to be in the food chain due to its illegal use on livestock, it will not intervene in the case of Rogers.

Last week the UCI asked Cycling Australia to open disciplinary proceedings against the 34-year-old, who joined Saxo-Tinkoff from Team Sky at the end of a 2012 season in which he helped Sir Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France.

In a statement reported by the Courier Mail, a UCI spokesman said: "The Tour of Beijing organisers, 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.

"Measures put in place as a result of these discussions include the employment by the organisers of a dedicated cook to supervise food in all the hotels which house the riders during the race.

"The UCI and WADA are clearly aware that there is a risk of food contamination in certain regions/countries such as China and Mexico that can cause adverse analytical findings for clenbuterol.

"Currently, the presence of clenbuterol is considered as an anti-doping rule violation which is investigated on a case-by-case basis.

"The UCI will be discussing this issue with all parties concerned, particularly WADA, to see if there are improvements which can be made to the current regulatory structure and the arrangements in place at the race," the statement concluded.

In the wake of the positive test results revealed last week and with the issue of potential clenbuterol contamination particularly widespread in China and Mexico, some have queried whether the UCI should continue to hold events there.

Retired rider Robbie McEwen, now a technical advisor at Orica-GreenEdge, told the Herald Sun last week: "Why don't they provisionally suspend racing in a country where they know there's a problem?

"Why don't they say, 'Because there's a problem we'll protect our integrity and we won't go there'? But they won't because they're getting paid way too much money to go there and then they're forcing teams to go there.

"If you're a rider who has any sort of choice in your program and they say 'Hey can you go and race in China?' you'd be saying a big, fat 'No thanks'.

"If I was signing with a team I would put it in my contract that I do not have to go and race in China or any country with a clenbuterol contamination issue," he added.

Others have pointed out that ultimately it is the athlete’s responsibility and they and their teams should take extra care about the types of food they eat when in those countries.

13 user comments

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Seems a bit tough to hold the victim responsible when they have been obliged to compete in a country with a known problem. I'd be pushing these countries into sorting them selves out, and advising any team or rider to take they're own food and not consume anything local.

This problem will ruine the reputation and career of people who are a victim not a culprit IMHO and this seems unfair to me.

If they know these countries have a problem then this should be factored into the test criteria, that would make more sense to me.

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [181 posts]
27th December 2013 - 23:53

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banzicyclist2 wrote:
Seems a bit tough to hold the victim responsible when they have been obliged to compete in a country with a known problem. I'd be pushing these countries into sorting them selves out, and advising any team or rider to take they're own food and not consume anything local.

This problem will ruine the reputation and career of people who are a victim not a culprit IMHO and this seems unfair to me.

If they know these countries have a problem then this should be factored into the test criteria, that would make more sense to me.

Equally a cheat can ruin a whole region's honest approach to encouraging pro cycling.

antonio

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posted by antonio [923 posts]
28th December 2013 - 9:57

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WADA and the UCI are not challenging the Rogers results why is this ? I wonder what the levels were ? perhaps the level was so high that it could not of come from food contamination ? I'm not aware of any figures being released so far but it certainly would be interesting to see.

posted by mikeprytherch [198 posts]
28th December 2013 - 11:02

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I don't understand how a pro team can take their own chefs to a tour in a country where Clenbuterol is known to be a problem in certain foods...and then end up with a positive test and blame it on the supply chain. How about simply getting the chefs/riders to avoid those products most at risk?

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posted by Bobbinogs [55 posts]
28th December 2013 - 11:44

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Robert Millar was so far ahead of his time he needed a DeLorean.

Perhaps an amnesty for these two guys, then zero tolerance henceforth for dope tests in dodgy-meat countries. If a team can't sort out safe food for their riders then as individuals the riders could choose to go veggie.

Nut cutlets and quorn for a fortnight or a potentially career-ending doping ban? Thinking

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
28th December 2013 - 12:40

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The effective dose of Clenbuterol is 100micrograms per day, taken over a period of 30-90 days. If any rider wanted to take Clen as a PED, they would be pretty well guaranteed to get caught.

I think we need to apply a little common sense here.

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [113 posts]
28th December 2013 - 12:47

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Just watched a repeat of a 30 minute interview with Dan Martin on CNTV News (china state broadcaster in English) post 2013 tour of Beijing. You can see the interview here http://english.cntv.cn/program/upclose/20131110/100566.shtml Two points from the interview that have a connection with the above article. Its a talk show type programme and the hostess asks him about the food pro cyclists eat to which he explains its not all pasta nowadays and his team, Garmin Sharp, travel with their own chef. From my following of big pro teams this seems to be the norm so I assume the team chef also checks the food source for the big teams. Also the fact that china TV devotes a half hour to an interview with a middle ranking pro cyclist shows how the pro tour in countries outside Europe and the North America can only be good thing for increasing the popularity of the sport as a whole and stop it stagnating again into the farce it was during the US postal era. At the end of the day two riders failed drug tests its up to them to prove its not their fault.

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
28th December 2013 - 18:24

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For those talking about food contamination and taking your own chiefs.

One detail

Horse Meat sold as beef, do you know what you are eating?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1190796/Chicken-secretly-injecte...

Sorry for linking to the mail, but adulterating meat is "normal" practice in the UK.

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posted by mrmo [1006 posts]
28th December 2013 - 18:48

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Quote:
Robert Millar was so far ahead of his time he needed a DeLorean.

Vegetarianiasm didn't stop him from failing a drug test, though, did it?
Why the assumption that China's food supply is at fault? The riders could simply have been doping. If the cause is dodgy meat, presumably we can expect to see more positives from the other riders competing at the same time...

posted by Nice Wee Cod [5 posts]
29th December 2013 - 12:14

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If meat really is the issue why not just ship it in from outside of the country. Stage races in China are less than a week it would have to be worth the money to import foreign meat rather than have a rider return a false positive. Or more likely that rider is just doping and has a go to excuse

posted by jarredscycling [436 posts]
30th December 2013 - 16:14

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How is taking your own chef going to help? The chef's still got to get the food somewhere - and I doubt even Jamie Oliver would be able to taste clenbuterol contamination...

Perhaps the UCI should freeze a sample of all menus eaten by the teams - it wouldn't be that much extra material to handle, and could be used to validate any positive test results.

posted by mogrim [38 posts]
31st December 2013 - 19:39

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Just heard a radio news article that Walmart in China were selling 'Five Spice Donkey Meat'. Now, you might think that that was the story. Well, it wasn't. They were intending to sell Five Spice donkey meat (must be a demand) but it was found to be contaminated with FOX meat!!
If I was a pro, I don't think I'd be hurrying to race over there; how the hell would you ever be 100% sure of what you were eating?

posted by pwake [264 posts]
4th January 2014 - 15:23

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Source: AP/Daily Fail.

Many bicycles in that picture. Just saying.

posted by Argos74 [254 posts]
4th January 2014 - 15:54

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