Metaltek-Scott rider Marcel Six has been banned for 18 months by UK Anti doping for refusing to give a urine sample after the Canary Wharf Tour Series round on May 31.

Six, who finished 11th on that day, was twice asked to provide a sample by the UKAD Doping Control Officer immediately after the race, but refused on both occasions explaining that he had to get home as his wife and children were waiting for him.

Six, who was reported to be ‘frustrated, angry and upset’ at the time, signed the relevant form that confirmed the fact he had refused to give a sample. On the form he wrote “..wife with kids who are extremely ill and I need to be there.” He also invited the officer to return home with him and conduct the test there or carry out the test the following day.

Six later said as part of his defence that he had raced at Canary Wharf at the last minute to help his team and at the time was needed at home. Also that apart from his wife’s medical issues his children were unwell, and that he had learnt, before speaking to the Doping Control Officer, that his wife was locked out of the house.

Six provided phone records that showed text messages and missed calls from his wife to his mobile phone during the race and around the time the tester was attempting to get a sample from him. Evidence that was not challenged by UKAD.

UKAD admitted in their decision (published on their website) that this had not been an easy issue to resolve. The first issue for them was whether or not the athlete had demonstrated that there was a ‘compelling justification’ for refusing to take the test.

In their decision, UKAD wrote “As Ms Six explained to us, the amount of time that the Athlete spent cycling was something of a bone on contention between them…….. That, we accept, sets the context for the Athlete deciding to decline the test once he had been told that his wife was “locked out”.”

“What happened thereafter, including the telephone call that Mr D’Wan [the Doping Control Officer] witnessed in the car park, served only to fortify the Athlete in his resolve to go home rather than take the test. Nevertheless, it says something about his motivation that he did (albeit unrealistically) suggest that testers might carry out the test at home that day or the following day.”

Six’s team manager at Metaltek-Scott, Andrew Swain said that Six was in fact tested the next morning at his home and that the result came back negative. UKAD were unable to confirm or deny this.

UKAD’s decision went on to say; “Honourable though the Athlete’s motives may have been, we have no hesitation in finding that his refusal was not based on any compelling justification. To be blunt, even if he agreed to race only at the last minute and under pressure, the fact of the matter is that, if he had time to compete in a  cycle race, he had to make time to take the test. If, as was the (sic) later the case, he wished to put his family first, then the time to do that was before he agreed to race rather than when he came to be tested.”

Six’s ban started on September 28 2012 and runs to March 27, 2014.

In a statement posted on the team’s Facebook page, Team manager Andrew Swain said; “We understand the decision of UKAD and that rules are rules and Marcel made a massive error of judgement in refusing a test on the night of Canary Wharf. When you are aware of the circumstances surrounding the matter, an urgent private family situation, coupled with the fact he was tested 12 hours later at home (by UKAD) which of course proved negative along with other negative tests at Lincoln and Stocton GP’s plus 2 further ‘out of competition’ tests, the headlines are somewhat harsh and mislead the reader to more serious wrong doing.”

“In UKAD’s statement they quote Marcel was able to ‘demonstrate he was at no particular fault or negligent’. We have found Marcel to be nothing but professional this year and he wouldn’t wish to tarnish his name, cherished family and our Team. He of course accepts the outcome of UKAD and the consequences of his actions that evening. As a Team we welcome everything UKAD is doing for the good of the sport and will continue to support them.”

In the May 10 edition of Cycling Weekly magazine we reported that there

had been no anti-doping tests at any Tour Series events in the previous

two years after several riders voiced concern over the lack of testing.

Liam Holohan of Team Raleigh-GAC said; “I’ve never been tested in Britain. Maybe I’m a bit ignorant [to the costs of the system] but I feel more

should be done.” Pete Williams of Node 4-Giordana said; “I’ve never seen testing at the Tour Series. There definitely should be – the whole British scene is based around it – not to catch anyone, but just as a deterrent.” 

Despite the lack of testing Metaltek-Scott Team Manager Andrew Swain said that the incident on May 31 was the sixth time that Six had been subject to a random test. UKAD was not able to confirm or deny this. Six finished second overall in the Boardman Bikes sprint standings at the Tour Series.

  • Patrick Salt

    I was at the Canary Wharf Race, just close to the pits. The commissaires and testers were all there, and went round the teams after the race identifying riders that I suppose the testers had picked out. There must have been five or six of them. So far as I could see they all simply signed and went off with the testers on foot, so the control must have been close by – I think the riders were changing in the sports club behind the pits, so maybe there. Can’t think what Mr Six was thinking about, as a professional it’s surely part of the job to take a test when asked? So far as I can understand, he is lucky to not get the full two years, which is the same as a positive.

  • richard

    a few years ago a certain veteran rider failed a post race drugs test and was banned, so it definately goes on in the lower echelons- oh thats a play on words . lol

  • T Anderson

    Am I correct in saying one ot two others were also tested at this event? How much time did it take for them to be tested?

    At the events I have seen on TV, the anti doping testing vehicle is usually situated close to the finish line. Assuming it was also the case here, in the time he has taken to refuse a test twice, explain his reason for refusal, and signed a waiver form, he could have taken the test.

  • Pete W

    Can someone explain to me how long it takes to pee into a cup?

    You can work that out yourself. Once you have totally emptied your bladder how long before you can pass urine agai?. Riders empty their bladder before the race and dehydrate during it.
    In my experience, getting to the testing station (not all on site), completing paperwork, and delivering samples, anything from 30 minutes to over 2 hours..and that includes drinking copious ampounts of water to try to speed things up.

  • pAUL

    Can someone explain to me how long it takes to pee into a cup?
    What a NOB, totally tarnished his teams reputation.
    I suspect there’s a lot of cheating that we’ll never ever know about at the lower levels of cycling right down to Cat 3s, I mean people will cheat on Strava for F sake, so people will cheat at anything. Sad but true.

  • Justin Goff

    After the allegations levelled at the media in the aftermath of the Armstrong case, that they didn’t do enough to investigate, question and report the doping practices of the time, this article sickens me.

    Why are Cycling Weekly writing an article that at best offers these “mitigating circumstances” as the truth and at worst, makes excuses for the rider? Six was found guilty by UKAD, they didn’t see any truth in his pitiful excuses and as a professional body, rightly so.

    The rider is guilty. Judging by various reports from within the UK peloton, he is as guilty as sin. Cycling Weekly should be reporting this, no holds barred, and should perhaps start looking more closely into the story and into the UK peloton as a whole.

    Or perhaps the omerta spreads wider than first thought?!

  • steve

    Correct decision by UKAD. Even if you buy his excuse about his family situation, I find it hard to believe that he had time to get to a race, then ride the race, but then was too pressed for time to pee in a cup.

  • Ricky Geoghegan

    I feel that the full 2 years should apply in this case, the rider had the time to race the event even though his kids were sick. This smacks of the disdain that testers are held in by riders, this guy would have had the same disrespect for the tester if he had all night to hang around after the race.

    To say his team needed him and then he finishes outside top 10, pull the other one. A missed test is the same as a fail and should be treated as such!

  • cancer Jesus

    No excuse. Only takes a few minutes to pee. He’s a pro, know’s the score and deserve’s the ban.

  • lee

    Clearly there needs to be an increase in anti-doping measures to “kill” off any thoughts that they (cheating athletes) can get away with it. Congratulations to UK Anti-doping Agency.

    When will cheats learn that they will always be caught! work harder and dont cut corners…

    As for Mr. Six…… if your a professional, you accept you will be tested if you race… clearly something dodgy as going on. Im sure a number of athletes would welcome testing a little further down the racing ladder as well!!!!