Britain's "anti-doping system is working" - British Cycling president Bob Howden

British Cycling president Bob Howden says that the anti-doping measures are working, despite three amateur doping violations since December

Bob Howden

British Cycling president Bob Howden says that Rob Townsend’s positive test for doping is proof that anti-doping measures are working.

Townsend, 46, is banned from all sporting competition until October 2019 following ruling by UK Anti-Doping authority, after the Team Swift rider testing positive for the stimulant modafinil in a 100-mile time trial in September.

His suspension follows that of Andrew Hastings, while Gabriel Evans is awaiting his sanction after admitting using EPO during the Junior 10-mile Championships in 2015.

>>> Cycling Time Trials planning more testing after latest doping positive

Howden, who received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list, was saddened by the latest doping case to hit the sport – in particular its amateur ranks – but decided to highlight the positive preventive work.

“This case highlights the clear position that UKAD and British Cycling share – that banned substances have no place in sport and riders caught with banned substances in their system will not be allowed to compete,” Howden said.

“British Cycling’s anti-doping culture is strong and we work closely with UKAD to deter all forms of doping and ensure that anyone falling foul of the rules is caught.

>>> Banned cyclist Robin Townsend claims drink was spiked by long-time rival before time trial

“I am saddened by any such instance, but the anti-doping system is working and we can take heart from that.

“British Cycling keeps its anti-doping work under regular review and our anti-doping commission will consider any implications from this case when it next meets in early February.”

Once Evans’ sanction is confirmed – originally due to be confirmed in early January – there will be four British cyclists on the banned list: Evans, Townsend, Hastings and Jason White.

Cycling Time Trials National Secretary Nick Sharpe told CW that the organisation is concerned by the number of positive tests in its events, but that it does not foresee any more doping cases coming to light.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.