World champion Mark Cavendish has confirmed that he has missed an out-of competition drugs test during 2011 under the ‘Whereabouts’ programme operated by the World-anti doping Agency (WADA).
News of his missed test comes on the same day it was announced that world individual pursuit champion Grégory Baugé has been stripped of his world individual sprint title following three Whereabouts infringements.
It was also revealed today that another French cyclist, FDJ’s Yoann Offredo is facing disciplinary proceedings after committing three violations.
Three infringements during an 18-month period – which may include failure to comply with rules regarding submission of whereabouts, as well as failure to update information, thereby causing a missed test – results in disciplinary proceedings being opened.
Unless the athlete can prove extenuating circumstances such as, for example, a delayed flight, such proceedings are likely to lead to a suspension, with three violations being treated as equivalent to a positive drugs test.
Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport broke news of Cavendish’s missed test in its print edition this morning.
The newspaper suggested that it may have resulted from the former HTC-Highroad rider spending more time away from his home in Tuscany as a result of his relationship with girlfriend Peta Todd, who lives in Essex.
However, in a statement released this afternoon, Cavendish, now with Team Sky, revealed that he was actually in Italy at the time.
"I missed an out-of-competition test last April, it was my mistake,” he explained.
"I was with a film crew from the BBC and Giro d'Italia on Mount Etna. It was a simple, genuine admin error.
"Of course I totally understand the importance of testing in sport. I was tested by the UCI (International Cycling Union) a couple of weeks before that and twice in the fortnight after and had around 60 tests in all last year.
"It's part of the job. And it's my job to make sure that I don't miss another."
The video in question was filmed with BBC Breakfast sports reporter Mike Bushnell ahead of the roads around the volcano hosting the Giro d’Italia last May, the stage won by Alberto Contador on his way to overall victory in the race.
According to WADA, “Athletes remain responsible for their whereabouts. They cannot avoid responsibility by blaming their representative for filing inaccurate information about their whereabouts or for not updating their whereabouts if they were not at the location specified by them during the 60-minute time-slot.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.