The 23-year-old Englishman used asthma drug Terbutaline without permission during the Paris-Nice stage race in March. Australian WorldTour team Orica-GreenEdge confirmed that they had made an error in not applying for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). With a TUE, a rider may freely use the substance.
The UCI’s legal service is examining the case with a decision expected within two weeks. The legal service and the anti-doping commission could issue a warning or a back-dated ban, allowing Yates to race. If so, Orica-GreenEdge would likely put him in their nine-man Tour team.
“Remember when he broke his collarbone in 2014? He raced the Tour of Slovenia, and still went to the Tour de France and climbed pretty well,” general manager Shayne Bannan told Cycling Weekly.
“If the outcome allowed him to ride the Tour de France, I’d say he’d be ready given his condition. He’d be a little bit underdone as far as racing is concerned, but the racing goes for three weeks.”
Show us your scars: Simon Yates
Yates crashed in the Tour of Turkey in 2014, when his twin brother Adam went on to win the overall. He returned six weeks later in the Swiss one-day race GP Argovie, raced in Slovenia for four days and placed third in the national road race championship before the Tour start in Leeds.
This year’s Tour of Slovenia runs from June 16 to 19 and leaves two weeks until the Tour’s start at Mont Saint-Michel. If he raced, it would be his third Tour de France after racing in 2014 and alongside his twin bother in 2015.
“If the situation’s cleared up, he’d have a shot,” added Bannan.
“A lot of things have to go our way, whatever decision the UCI happens to make. But we just don’t know. We are ready for what ever decision is made.”
Orica had Yates listed for the Critérium du Dauphiné this week but did not race him. He is legally free to race, but doing so could cause problems if a back-dated ban was issued.
Yates’s test results in Paris-Nice on March 12 showed traces of Terbutaline, a beta-2 agonist for the treatment of asthma. He placed seventh overall behind winner Geraint Thomas (Sky) in the race and the Terbutaline results surfaced on April 29. Orica put the blame on a team doctor, saying he made an error in not applying for a TUE.