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Irish masters road race champion handed four-year doping ban

Dale Walker tested positive for steroids after winning title in September last year

A cyclist who won the Irish Masters Road Race Championship in September last year has been handed a four-year suspension after testing positive for a cocktail of banned drugs following the race.

Cycling Ireland and Sport Ireland today announced that the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ISADDP) had found that Dale Walker had committed an anti-doping rule violation after testing positive for several prohibited substances following the race on 15 September 2019.

In its reasoned decision, the ISADDP noted that Walker had tested positive for the prohibited substances epioxandrolone, oxandrolone, 18-noroxandrolone and boldenone and/or boldenone metabolite(s).

The 47-year-old amateur rider requested that his B sample be tested, and the same prohibited substances were found.

He was told that if he could establish that the violations were not intentional, he might face a ban of up to two years, but if he was unable to do so, a ban of four years would apply.

He said that he had taken a number of over-the-counter supplements as well as products bought online from the United States, and offered to provide Sport Ireland with samples of them.

He claimed that one or more of the products may have been contaminated, or contained banned substances not mentioned in the ingredients on the label.

In its submission to the panel, Sport Ireland said that “it is not sufficient for an athlete to suggest that the source of a prohibited substance must be a contaminated supplement or food because he or she would never take a banned substance. There are a variety of cases which support this view.”

As a result, it suggested that he was unable to explain the source of the banned substances for which he had tested positive.

The drug testing laboratory in Cologne that tested the A and B samples also tested unsealed and sealed tubs of a supplement called Total War, and found traces of one of the banned substances in the former, but not in the latter.

The panel found that Sport Ireland had established its case that the urine samples contained four prohibited substances or their metabolites or markers and accordingly that Walker had committed four anti-doping violations.

His partially retroactive ban will expire on 4 November 2023.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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