Australian team says doctor who supplied Yates with Asthma medication failed to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption

Orica-GreenEdge have taken responsibility for Simon Yates’ positive test, which they confirmed was for the substance Terbutaline and was discovered during an in-competition test on stage six of the 2016 Paris-Nice.

The Australian team said that the substance, which is used as a reliever for symptoms of asthma, was properly administered by a team doctor in the form of an inhaler, but a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) was not obtained from the UCI.

The news of the 23-year-old Brit’s failed test broke on Thursday night, with Orica quick to release a statement stating that “there has been no wrong-doing on Simon Yates’ part” and expressed severe concerns over the leak of the information.

The statement read:

“On April 22, the team was notified that Simon Yates has an adverse analytical finding from a test conducted at Paris-Nice, stage 6 on March 12, 2016.

“The positive result is for the substance Terbutaline.

“The substance was given to Simon Yates in the form an asthma inhaler and accordingly, this was noted by the team doctor on the Doping Control Form, signed at the time of the test.

“The substance was given in an ongoing treatment of Simon Yates’ documented asthma problems. However, in this case the team doctor made an administrative error by failing to apply for the TUE required for the use of this treatment.

“The use of Terbutaline without a current TUE is the reason it has been flagged as an adverse analytical finding. This is solely based on a human error that the doctor in question has taken full responsibility for.

“There has been no wrong-doing on Simon Yates’ part. The team takes full responsibility for this mistake and wishes to underline their support for Simon during this process.

“The team is concerned by the leak of this information and has no further comments until there has been a full evaluation made of the documentation, statements and evidence that the team and Simon Yates are now submitting to the UCI in order to clarify everything.”

Yates posted a seventh place finish in the overall classification at this year’s Paris-Nice, but pulled out of the Tour of the Basque Country in late April and missed all of the Ardennes Classics.

The news of the test comes in a bad week for British Cycling, which has seen technical director Shane Sutton resign from his position just 100 days before the Olympic Games.

A similar situation to Yates’ in which a doctor forgot to apply for the same prohibited substance took place in 2008, with Rugby Union player Scott MacLeod at the centre of the story.

MacLeod was cleared of an anti-doping violation in that case, with an independent judicial hearing ruling that the absence of a TUE was “entirely inadvertent” due to his status as long-time sufferer of severe asthma.

  • Florin

    “Another one, I guess they’re all at it”………..good one

  • stephen claybrook

    this is so shocking, really people get a grip! a guy with Asthma become a great cyclist and wins medals and things but then get the blame when his gp or coach should of helped and advised him. with a medice he has probably taken from early age. whats wrong with you people no perspective

  • J1

    The same doctor that worked with Mapei and ONCE when EPO was the norm too, ah oh.

  • J1

    ….and it can be cured by getting fitter through exercise!

  • Michael

    Unfortunately no.

    The responsibility lies with the athlete. Even if the team screwed up here, it doesn’t really absolve him.

    If it did then every team that wanted to cheat would hire a doctor as a ‘fall guy’ if and when they got caught.

    I think the only circumstances in which you could absolve an athlete would be if you prove that someone had doped him without his knowledge. Whether maliciously or by a genuine mistake. Even then you’re opening possibilities for a cheating team to have a fall guy to protect the athletes.

    Of course, the fact the team have taken responsibility here suggests if the UCI finds them “guilty” for want of a better word, the whole team should suffer the consequences.

    It does make their story somewhat believable I suppose because the most logical action for the team at this point (to protect themselves), if they were not involved, would be to suspend or sack the rider and distance themselves from it.

    So, maybe their story is true. They are certainly putting themselves on the line if not.

  • Dave

    It is the rider’s responsibility, and nobody else’s, to make sure they have the TUE issued by the governing body before racing with it in their system.

    The governing body issues the exemption to the rider, not to the doctor.

  • S.Arten

    The anti doping blacklist is ridiculous. I wish i could take a fat burner (Sakho) or use an inhaler to feel like i’m superhuman… especially after a 12 hour night shift.

  • Wun Fung Chan

    It’s also bizarre that the info was leaked (I presume after the A test result) and the usual protocols on communicating test results haven’t been adhered to. Sadly these leaks are at the expense of the reputation of athletes and do not reflect well on how anti doping is organised.

  • dourscot

    He was seventh on classification.

  • dourscot

    Low-level asthma is actually fairly common although most people never push themselves hard enough for that to become apparent.

  • dourscot

    Equally, he’s always been open about his asthma and the fact he used an inhaler.

    Forgetting to apply for a TUE for something the rider has admitted using in the past is bizarre.

  • compositemix

    If he is asthmatic, he must have had many TUE in the past?

  • Quarter Cask

    pro cycling must apparently be the main cause of asthma in the world. statistics show that pretty clearly 😛

  • ljblas

    Something not quite right here. I find it very difficult to believe that an experienced doctor for a major World Tour team forgets to apply for a TUE.

  • Phenwooduk

    Sad how many elite athletes suffer from asthma

  • rcsc

    In my opinion because Simon is an asthmatic, he goes to his team doctor and says can you prescribe me something for this he expects the doctor to do this, if the doctor does not apply for the correct form to allow this that’s not the riders fault, Simon is taking the fall for somebody else. Did he ride away from everyone in the Paris Nice.