British Cycling?s Dave Brailsford, has defended Rob Hayles after he failed a UCI blood test just hours before the start of the track cycling world championships in Manchester.
The UCI announced that Hayles and Pim Ligthart of the Netherlands were both over the 50 percent blood haematocrit level and that both have automatically been suspended for two weeks.
Brailsford revealed that Hayles was just 0.3% over the 50% limit.
?I?ve known Rob a long time and there?s never been any doubt in my mind that Rob is anything but a fantastic athlete for Great Britain,? he said.
?I?ve spoken to Rob and looked him straight in the eye and he?s devastated as you?d expect. All of our riders are tested and we?ve had thousands of tests done on our squad.?
?Whilst it?s not anything we?d ever wish to happen on the opening day of the track world championships, I think the system is there to make sure than everything is kept above board and I?m 100% behind it.?
In a further statement issued by British Cycling, Brailsford said:
?We are totally supportive of the screening system. Considering the thousands of tests performed on our large squad by now, it is not unusual to get one or two such anomalies. Indeed we have had riders in the past who have recorded such anomalies during screening and which have been proved to be entirely normal.
?This morning?s screening has shown an anomaly that warrants further investigation and we are working with the UCI to resolve this matter. Meanwhile we continue to be focussed on delivering the best results during the World Track Championships.?
Hayles was due to ride in the individual pursuit event on Wednesday's opening day of the championships, while Ligthart was entered for Friday's men's points race.
A total of 66 blood tests were carried out on riders from the United States, Australia, the Netherlands and Britain on Wednesday morning. All the other riders were cleared to race.
Hayles fails pre-race blood test at Track Worlds
Hayles denies cheating
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1