The criminal case against Visma-Lease a Bike’s Michel Hessmann on anti-doping grounds has been dropped.
The public prosecutor’s office in Freiburg, Germany has closed the case due to a lack of evidence, it was reported on Monday.
Hessmann returned a positive test result for diuretics in June last year. The initial positive result was backed up by his B sample. Hessmann was immediately made inactive by Visma, and then suspended by the team in August.
The 22-year-old was then faced with a lengthy ban from the sport as well as potential criminal charges.
Doping is a criminal offence in Germany although the possibility of charges against Hessmann has now ended because, according to the Wielerflits report, the prosecutor’s office has said that “there is no or insufficient suspicion of a criminal offence”.
Diuretics are banned by the world anti-doping agency [WADA]. They can cause rapid weight loss and have also been used as masking agents, to conceal the use of other doping products. They are banned both in and out of competition.
NADA’s investigation into Hessmann is still ongoing. The German rode the Giro d’Italia for Visma last year in support of eventual winner Primož Roglič.
Visma general manager Richard Plugge has previously described the day the team received the news regarding Hessmann’s positive test as “a black day” for the Dutch based WorldTour squad.
“For the first time in ten years, we received the message that a rider from our team, Michel Hessmann, had a positive doping test," he said. "We had to look in the mirror ourselves, are we doing everything right?”
When contacted by Cycling Weekly on Monday for comment in relation to the development in Hessmann’s case, a spokesperson for Visma-Lease a Bike said that they'd received the news, but had nothing to add.
Hessmann faces a potential four-year ban from cycling but that could be reduced to two years if the 22-year-old can prove that he tested positive due to a contaminated supplement or food item.
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