By Nigel Wynn
Richardsons-Trek, the cycling team of Andrew Hastings, issued a statement on Thursday evening confirming that they feel "hugely disappointed" and "let down" by his positive dope test, which was announced today by UK Anti-Doping.
The British Masters champion has been handed a four-year ban by UKAD for taking anabolic steroids. The positive test for metenolone and stanozolol was returned from a sample taken at the team time trial championships on May 30, the day before he took the British Masters title (age 35-39).
Richardsons-Trek revealed that Hastings was suspended by the squad in June while his case was being investigated, and his membership of the team has now been terminated.
"As an amateur team we have limited control over the actions of individuals and rely on trust that our riders will maintain the high standards that are expected of them as athletes both on and off the bike," said the Richardsons-Trek statement.
"We all feel hugely disappointed by the decisions that Andrew made which have led to this situation. His actions have let down the team, our sponsors, as well as our supporters and his former teammates, especially George Wood and Rhys Howells, with whom he rode the National TTT.
"It unfortunately casts a shadow over all of the team’s hard work and what has otherwise been a very successful season for the rest of the team."
The statement also outlines the reasons given by Hastings to explain how the banned substances entered his system.
"Andrew cannot account for the presence of these substances in his urine sample, however he advised UKAD that he believes the positive test was a result of a contaminated vitamin or protein recovery supplement brought from an online retailer."
This differs from the explanation given by Hastings during UKAD's deposition where he testified that the contamination had arisen from a used syringe that he had borrowed to inject vitamin B12 after a gym training session.
"Irrespective of how these substances came to be in his sample, in line with UKAD advice to competitors, the responsibility lies with the athlete to ensure that any products being used do not contain substances listed on the WADA banned list and there are no excuses for not following these guidelines," said the team.
The statement concluded: "As a team that actively encourages the development of young riders, we are committed to and believe in a clean sport and we fully support the National Anti-Doping Panel and the decision they have made as well as the continued work that UK Anti-Doping do to keep our sport clean.
"We are extremely fortunate as a team to have very supportive sponsors who have faith in the team and its members. Their belief and continued backing and desire to provide a platform for young aspiring riders has helped the team maintain focus and continue looking towards the future. We thank them for their backing and personal support."
In addition to the announcement of Hastings's positive test result on Thursday, 18-year-old British junior 10-mile time trial champion Gabriel Evans admitted to the use of EPO and that he is also under investigation by UKAD.
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