Alpecin-Deceuninck's Robert Stannard provisionally suspended over alleged 2018 anti-doping violation

Stannard says he has never intentionally used a prohibited substance

Robert Stannard at the 2022 Vuelta a España
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Alpecin-Deceuninck rider Robert Stannard has been provisionally suspended after being charged with an anti-doping rule violation by the UCI.

The suspension is for the "use of prohibited Methods and/or prohibited substances”, and as a result Stannard had been removed from Australia’s team for the Glasgow World Championships.

The Australian is alleged to have broken anti-doping rules in 2018-2019, while he was with what was then Mitchelton-Scott. The UCI is yet to issue a statement, but his name is on the list of provisionally suspended riders.

“I have been notified by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) that it considers that I committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation more than four years ago,” Stannard said in a statement published by his agents, Signature Sport, on Wednesday.

“I have never intentionally or knowingly used a prohibited substance and will therefore ask for my case to be referred to the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal.

“I look forward to filing my defence and am confident of being exonerated and continuing my career.

“I will respect the confidentiality of the procedure and therefore will not be commenting further.”

His Belgian team said: "Alpecin-Deceuninck just took note of the fact that the Union Cycliste International (UCI) considers that Robert Stannard committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation, back in 2018 and 2019. Stannard joined the team on January 1st, 2022 on a 2-year agreement that expires at the end of this year. 

"This specific case dates back to 2018 and 2019, more than four years ago and more than three years before the transfer of Stannard to our team. 

"We respect the decision of the UCI and will conform to this. In the meanwhile, we will further inform us with the rider, his management, and the UCI.

"Alpecin-Deceuninck will not be commenting further until we have full clarification from the three parties mentioned above."

Stannard joined Alpecin in 2022, winning the Tour de Wallonie and riding the Vuelta a España last summer. This year, the Australian's best results have been two top-10 results on stages of the Critérium du Dauphiné. 

The 24-year-old joined from what was then BikeExchange, for whom he rode for professionally from 2018 to 2021. Previously, in 2017 and 2018, he was on the team's development squad, alongside the likes of Michael Storer and Jai Hindley.

In 2018, one of the year's referred to by Alpecin in its statement, Stannard won Il Piccolo Lombardia, the Giro del Belvedere, and a stage of the Baby Giro.

AusCycling also released a statement acknowledging the situation.

“AusCycling was informed of the UCI’s provisional suspension of cyclist Rob Stannard earlier today,” the statement read.

“Regrettably, the provisional suspension for an Anti-Doping Rule Violation means that Mr Stannard will be unable to compete in the World Championships in Glasgow.

“We note that Mr Stannard rigorously rejects the stated reasons for the provisional suspension and has signalled his intention to appeal. AusCycling will continue to support Mr Stannard and will provide the UCI with whatever assistance it needs to swiftly resolve the matter.”

Jayco-AlUla, the team Stannard rode for at the time of the alleged violation, has been contacted for comment.

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.