Slovenian cyclist Jani Brajkovic faces a 10-month ban after using a contaminated supplement with Methylhexaneamine last season.
The UCI governing body and Brajkovic announced the finding and suspension on Monday. The tests stems from the 2018 Tour of Croatia stage two on April 18 when he raced with Continental team Adria Mobil. The suspension runs through June 1, 2019.
Methylhexaneamine is a stimulant that was sold as a medicine up to the early 1970s, but is no longer used for medical treatment, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) explains on its website. It is currently included as a constituent of some dietary supplements sold today, including via the internet.
The suspension could end the 35-year-old’s career, which includes a Critérium du Dauphiné overall victory in 2010 and 11 Grand Tour rides.
In 2005, the small climber began racing with the Discovery Channel team. He continued in teams Astana, RadioShack, UnitedHealthcare and Bahrain-Merida.
In 2017, he led Bahrain in the overall classification at the Tour de France, eventually finishing 45th. The result was far from the ninth place he achieved in 2012.
Brajkovic pulled himself from racing immediately after being notified of his positive test in July, opting against the testing of his B sample. After research, he realised that the contamination came from a meal replacement powder that he took starting in 2018.
He said he had investigated the powder before using it. He wrote, “I checked on Aegis Shield, Examine.com, and a few other sites. It looked good, just some whole food proteins and carbs.”
After the anti-doping result, he looked further. The company who produced the powder he took also made a pre-workout powder with Methylhexaneamine.
“Over next month I made a case, with all the information possible needed to convince UCI that the cause of positive was contaminated supplement. I knew that suspension was inevitable, but my main goal was for UCI to accept that it was unintentional due to contaminated product. And yes, they came back, accepting my beliefs.”
Since it was unintentional, he escaped with a lighter ban of 10 months that was back-dated to take into consideration the time he did not race.
“There are still some things that are going on and could reduce my suspension, but I just don’t want to wait anymore,” he said.
“Is this the worst thing ever happened to me? Most of the people would say so, and yes, it’s really bad. Especially in the sport of cycling no matter how small or big mistake, it has a big impact,” he continued.
“Looking from another perspective, I’ve had worse things happen. In my career I was bullied, didn’t fit in, because I didn’t go out with people to get lit to near death, I was choked during the Tour by a team-mate, I was told I’m zero, nobody, worthless, right after I signed a contract. I was also told, I was gonna be fired and they’ll make sure I never ride again.”