UCI says it has not suspended Toon Aerts in ongoing doping case
Belgian cyclocross star tested positive for prohibited substance before 2022 cyclocross world championships
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Belgian cyclocross star and former European champion Toon Aerts has not been suspended from competition, the UCI has said, after confusion in the ongoing doping case.
Aerts returned a positive sample in February this year after an out-of-competition doping control test was found to contain a banned substance.
A drug used to treat breast cancer, Letrozole, was found in Aerts’ submitted “A” sample 10 days before the World Championships.
His results for his “B” sample were not yet confirmed, but if positive he will lose his sixth-place finish from the Worlds along with several other cyclocross results.
However, on Wednesday afternoon the UCI sought to clarify “inaccurate and/or incomplete information” in a statement (opens in new tab) to clarify the “status of proceedings”.
It said that the governing body had in fact not been preventing the Belgian from competing and it was a decision that Aerts had taken himself.
The statement said: “Letrozole and its metabolites are qualified as Specified Substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. In such cases there is no mandatory provisional suspension required and Mr. Aerts was not provisionally suspended by the UCI.
"Any rider may, however, decide to accept a provisional suspension and refrain from participating in competitions on a voluntary basis.”
The UCI explained that “in accordance with the UCI Anti-Doping Regulations, the UCI afforded Mr Aerts the opportunity to provide his explanations” for the adverse analytical finding [AAF]. As Aerts has chosen to do so he is now being given time to prepare his reasoning for the find before UCI officials make a final decision as to whether to suspend him or not.
The statement concluded that at this point the UCI is unable to give an indication as to how long it will take for the case to conclude.
In February Toon Aerts released a statement in relation to the case that said his “world was turned upside down” by the allegations.
Aerts said: "I received a letter from the UCI that no athlete wants to receive in his career. I was informed that an abnormal result was found in my urine sample, which was taken during an out-of-competition check at my home on January 19th.
"I am currently in the dark as to how this could have come about. The product 'Letrozole Metabolite' was found in my urine sample. A product that I had never heard of until yesterday and do not know how it got into my body."
The statement continued: "Anyone who knows me a little knows that I have been against any form of doping all my career and have always done everything I can to set an example as an athlete. I will therefore do everything I can to prove my innocence and clear my name.”
During the proceedings Aerts was stood down from competition by his team Baloise Trek Lions.
His team said: “Within Baloise Trek Lions, we have a strict zero-tolerance for doping for all our riders. As a team, we owe that to ourselves, the other riders in the team and the cycling fans.”
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Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly, and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. Alongside his day job, prior to starting with the team, he wrote a variety of different pieces as a contributor to a cycling website, Casquettes and Bidons, which included interviews with up and coming British riders.
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