Israel Start-Up Nation rider handed doping ban for using wrong asthma spray 

The first doping ban for the Israeli WorldTour team 

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Israel Start-Up Nation has been handed its first doping ban since becoming a WorldTour outfit. 

Swiss rider Patrick Shelling has been banned by the UCI after he took the wrong asthma spray and tested positive for a prohibited substance.

The 30-year-old has been given a four-month ban after he tested positive for terbutaline, which is used to manage symptoms in asthma sufferers. 

Schelling has apologised after his ban was made public on Tuesday (September 8), adding it was an unintentional mistake to take the banned substance.

Israel Start-Up Nation have not ended the rider’s contract, but said the matter will be dealt with internally.  

He said: “I have suffered from asthma since childhood. It was an unintentional mistake to use a non-allowed asthma spray, and I would like to apologise to the authorities, to the team, and to the whole cycling family. 

“It has never been my intention to damage the image of cycling, I regret my wrongdoing and I take full responsibility for my error in judgment.” 

Schelling, who hasn’t race since March, has had all his results from the 2020 Tour of Rwanda stripped, including his overall podium finish. 

The UCI said the ride returned an adverse analytical finding for terbutaline in a sample collected on February 24, 2020, on stage two of the Tour of Rwanda.  

His ban has been backdated to May 2020, which means he will be eligible to race again from September 17. 

Terbulatine is banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited substance list, which has been adopted by the UCI.  

The presence of the substance does not result in automatic suspension of a racer, which is why the results have not publicly disclosed until now. 

>>> Tour de France 2020: No riders test positive for coronavirus, but four staff members have 

 A statement from Israel Start-Up Nation said: “We are disappointed that our rider Patrick Schelling had an Adverse Analytical Finding for an asthma medicine at the Tour of Rwanda of this year, that then resulted in four months of ineligibility. 

“ISN was not aware that Mr Schelling was taking this substance, as it was not declared to the team. 

“We accept the sanction by the UCI, which was imposed in accordance with the Anti-Doping Rules. ISN will deal with this internally to ensure that such violations are not repeated.”  

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.