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Rider given 18 month ban for refusal to take dope test due to domestic emergency

Belgian born rider, Marcel Six has been sacked by the Metaltek Scott racing team following the 18 month ban he received last week for refusing a doping control, due to a family emergency, at the Canary Wharf round of this year's Tour Series.

Six's dismissal is pretty much a formality given the length of his ban, even so team manager Andy Swain told the Melton Times that it had been a hard decision to make, like UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) Swain said he didn't believe that Six had actually doped.

“We have dismissed him because we need to be seen to be doing the right thing for our sponsors and suppliers.

“It was a tough decision to make and a rough week for the team, but we will still be going strong next year, hopefully learn from it and move onwards and upwards.”

As we reported last week Six, whose racing career was described "as a bone of contention' between him and his wife was called up to race as a last minute replacement for the Canary Wharf race and even before it had started was receiving phone calls and text messages from his wife telling him that she was locked out of the house and that there son was ill.

Finishing the race in 11th place, Six was selected for a random doping control – only riders from the top 12 finishers faced the prospect of such a test - Six however refused and made straight for the car park to leave the event, on the way signing a document acknowledging that his failure to take a test could constitute an anti-doping violation.

Commenting on the situation Swain said: “If you know Marcel, what happened was perfectly legitimate, but it was a massive error of judgement.”

While missing an out of competition test is a serious matter missing an in competition test counts as an automatic fail and carries a two year ban unless the athlete can establish that they had compelling justification to miss the test. Six failed to do this, but had his two year ban reduced by six months because of the circumstances - he also passed the doping control when it was administered 12 hours later.

Whether the rider will ever return to cycling is open to doubt, his former manager thinks it unlikely: “I’m not sure Marcel would want to a ride a bike anymore when you look at what some people have said.

“Some have got him down as being as guilty as Lance Armstrong which is crazy, but it would make it difficult for him to come back.”

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

12 comments

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paulrattew [100 posts] 3 years ago
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FFS, how long does it take to piss in a pot! Time to race but not time to piss?!
He's almost certainly clean, but the controls are vital to the sport and it is right that the automatic ban is there. Such a shame because he is a great rider who has been exciting to watch this season. I hope he does return to pro-racing, but given the length of ban and the financial impact this will have I am not hopeful. Poor guy, but apalling decision on his part

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zanf [795 posts] 3 years ago
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paulrattew wrote:

FFS, how long does it take to piss in a pot! Time to race but not time to piss?!

I think the hint is in the article about his wife ringing him before the race even started and that him racing is a bone of contention between them.

I bet UKAD on his case is nothing compared to his wife!

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euanlindsay [82 posts] 3 years ago
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How long does it take to piss in a pot? Probably the same as a length of string. Its usually at least a couple of hours after a race that I need to go to the toilet. Shame the don't do it before hand, I'm like a fountain up until the gun goes.

I can imagine the situation with an agitated wife and not being able to piss in a sufficient quantity (two samples) was a hard one to make the right call in. Some things are bigger than bikes. Usually an angry wife.

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koosiegreen [48 posts] 3 years ago
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Misjudgment tunrs into 18month ban. A bit harsh i would think. though the rules are the rules. hope he does stay in the sport, he is a good rider.

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STATO [493 posts] 3 years ago
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zanf wrote:
paulrattew wrote:

FFS, how long does it take to piss in a pot! Time to race but not time to piss?!

I think the hint is in the article about his wife ringing him before the race even started and that him racing is a bone of contention between them.

I bet UKAD on his case is nothing compared to his wife!

I think it was the multiple calls during the race and his ill son stuck in the house alone, so you can imagine when he got the msg after the race going home immediately was his only thought.

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matthew2689 [3 posts] 3 years ago
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I think in light of everything that's going on at the moment the length of his ban seems a bit ridiculous.
He made a mistake in refusing the test, but 18 months seems a bit much for a rider everyone seems to agree is clean. He probably would've got a shorter ban for a failed test...
I hope the decision is appealed and overturned, there should be some punishment but it should befit the circumstances. 6 months and a fine maybe?

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Seoige [104 posts] 3 years ago
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On the other hand you could have argued that if it was such an emergency then she could have called the firebrigade, hotel manager,neighbour or police for assistance. Or he could have sent his set of home keys down by taxi or one of the staff in the team cars. It was not like it was his only option!! He could then have expedited the drug test and followed on shortly afterwards. Maybe there is more to this story then what we have been informed by the media. When he left without taking the test he resigbed himself to the consequences. Sounds very suspect!!! 18 months does seem harsh but they are sending a clear message in relation to doping  39

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OldRidgeback [2566 posts] 3 years ago
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"Commenting on the situation Swain said: 'If you know Marcel, what happened was perfectly legitimate, but it was a massive error of judgement.'”

So they admit he made a mistake and know he probably wasn't doping but will kick him out anyway. All is madness.

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NeilXDavis [122 posts] 3 years ago
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What a sad situation - like previous comments if she was THAT worried why the hell didnt she call the police?!..Ive been there with a young child and non understanding woman..stress city...

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notfastenough [3665 posts] 3 years ago
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He must be feeling pretty crap right now. Hope his career being cut short doesn't cause him to feel resentment towards his family. There's more to life than bikes, Marcel. Best of luck.

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Farky [183 posts] 3 years ago
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From what Ive been reading, I dont think he disputes the issue, regrets the 'misjudgement' or is unhappy with the ban....he accepted the outcome of his own decision in an honest way.

The issue here is more personal due to the reaction of some people within the UK cycle scene that he wouldve expected better from.

There is clearly some personal difficulty in his life and this has put him under pressure and stress with the result being him throwing away 18mths of a career to salvage more personal goals....consciously or not.

Really feel for him on a personal level but even more so with the reactions of those he was surrounded by and trusted.

Dont think the team had any choice and I doubt he would disagree with that on its own either, he wouldnt have wanted the team to suffer any negative effects of his decision, im sure.

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doc [167 posts] 3 years ago
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Just one thing for the reporter, if you check the rules before making statements, nowheere is there a word about "only testeing from the top 12". This is not correct - every rider in a race is subject to random testing. We must believe that the testers had made their random draw based on placings, which could equally have included someone finishing 40th or lower.
You should correct this as it gives a false impression about how thorough the people from UKADA are.