Earlier today, Richie Rude and Jared Graves confirmed to Pinkbike that they tested positive
for the drugs Higenamine
at an in-competition test in Olargues, France. Jared is also undergoing treatment for a brain tumour
that he was diagnosed with back in September, making the situation all the more distressing.
We sat down with Jared to get the specifics of the situation from his perspective.
Did you return an adverse analytical finding? Jared Graves:
When and where did this get returned from? Graves:
The race was the EWS, round three in France, and it was probably late-July when we got news of it. So that was when we first found out.
Graves tested positive for Higenamine and Oxilofrine at this season's EWS race in Olargues, France.
Do you know the substance, or substances, that caused the AAF? Graves:
There are two things, and they're stimulants; Higenamine and Oxilofrine were the two things. And from what we know now, Higenamine is a banned substance in-competition and out of competition, but Oxilofrine is only banned in-competition.
Have you ever intentionally taken a banned substance? Graves:
Absolutely not. That's the biggest part of what we're on about here; there's no way that I'd ever do anything to hurt my reputation or anything like that. I've had too many years of racing. I think it's fair to say about myself that I'm at the twilight of my career, so to speak, so now would not be the time to start doing anything like that. I mean, I've had so many years back in the day, and especially the 4X and BMX times, when I was on the ASADA [Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority] testing pool and I got dozens of tests every year in competition and complete random tests out of competition, which included blood tests as well and that sort of stuff. And I never had a single issue with anything.
The big thing for me is that some of the drinks I've had, like a pre-workout type of drink, they're all things that I've had in the past and were never on the banned list. And I've always tested clean in every test I've ever had, so I just never thought to update myself with any information if anything was added to the banned list because every test I've ever had was clean.
You know, you're not seeking any of the bigger name, nasty things that people talk about and associate with cycling in general, so you know you're not seeking out any of that stuff. To me, I have nothing to worry about, and this whole thing, for lack of a better way to put it, is a big 'what the f*ck' moment.
The two substances that showed up, would they be listed as ingredients in any of your supplements? And if not, do you have any idea of what might have caused the test result? Graves' lawyer, Matt Kaiser:
We can't answer that right now, unfortunately.
It sounds like the suspicion is the supplements, though? Graves:
We've certainly gone through everything that I've had in the time leading up to that day, and we're getting things tested to try and pinpoint exactly where it came from.
Other pro men wait for their turn at the AFLD's doping control station on May 13th.
In a race or a training situation, is it ever something that crosses your mind that you wouldn't drink from someone's bottle or that you wouldn't take something that maybe you're not familiar with? Graves:
At home, I have a very close group of guys that I train with, and even a lot of those guys don't race themselves, so they've got no interest in anything that could be deemed 'performance enhancing.' They're into it for the pure love of the sport, and there's no way they'd want to do anything to hurt my reputation or anything like that.
As far as at a race goes, it's kind of something that's been encouraged amongst riders; so everyone helps each other out, which is an awesome part of the sport. Certainly, you never think like that, especially when you're in the 'race frame of mind.' You know, you try to help everyone as best you can, and I think everyone sort of has the opinion of 'look after everyone else, and when you need a bit of help they'll look after you.' That's kind of the way that everyone goes about the competition, really. Everyone's looking out for each other. I've certainly never thought anything malicious might be going on between anyone, and I still don't think that.
Was this the first time you've been tested while competing in the Enduro World Series? Graves:
Yes, this is the first time I've been tested.
Have you been aware of any testing at other Enduro World Series events? Graves:
Not to my knowledge, no. I know there's been some other testing in other races that I haven't competed in, but not in an EWS.
And you've already said that you were tested in other disciplines and that it wasn't that much of an uncommon occurrence? Graves:
Over the years, I've been tested in other disciplines.
How is an EWS athlete supposed to know what substances are banned? Is this something that the organizer communicates with you, or is it entirely on your guys' shoulders to go figure that out? Graves:
It's not something that I've ever even thought about because, again, I thought I had absolutely nothing to worry about. As far as the rider, it's something that you have to be aware of yourself, and it's not something that's been hugely advertised in any way. But now is a good time to mention that everyone should take this as an example to educate themselves, I guess, and really look at what they're putting in their bodies because, to me, this is a prime example of how easy something like this can happen.
I just never would have thought I'd be in this situation, yet here we are. You've got to be really aware, especially with it becoming more of a normal thing now, so you've got to be super on top of what you're putting into your body. Inform yourself.
From here, what's the next step? What's the process? Graves:
We're still waiting on an actual hearing date, so there's not too much else that we can say or do for now. It's just trying to pinpoint where the substances came from and just build our defence as best we can and try to think of anything that might be helpful towards our situation.
For me, personally, the biggest part is for 2019; I wouldn't be racing anyway because I've got another six months of high-dose chemo coming up, so that won't end until the middle of the year, and then it can take months before you're back to normal energy levels. It's nasty stuff and it takes awhile for your body to recover from the high-dose chemo cycles. It's looking like this time next year before I'd even be able to one-hundred-percent be back into training. So for me, racing next year isn't on the cards anyway.
Jared's friend, former teammate, and sometimes training partner Richie Rude took the win in France and also tested positive for banned substances.
Are you aware of if your B sample has already been tested? Graves:
I don't think we even opted for the B sample, did we?Graves' lawyer, Matt Kaiser:
No, you're correct. We didn't opt for the B sample and just accepted that the results are what they were.
What do you think this news will mean for the sport of enduro racing? Do you think we're going to see any big changes as far as more testing, which I think we'll be seeing anyway with the UCI coming in? Graves:
Yeah, I think testing was going to be part of the whole deal anyway, but I just hope it doesn't give a negative reputation for the sport because that'd be super-bad for the sport at this point. It's just starting to get some really good momentum behind it. Again, something like this has come up out of nowhere and it's been completely unexpected. It just goes to show how easy something like this can happen and it'd be a big bummer if people... If things start snowballing with comments on the internet, and people start talking about their opinions of stuff that they don't really know what they're talking about, or the particular situation.
So I just think it'd be unfortunate for the sport if people - I don't know if it's just Saturday night boredom or something - if they could just keep that in check until the facts are known. That would be awesome.
Graves declined having his B sample be tested.
How do you want to address the scepticism? Graves:
I just hope they can see that everything I've said is the truth, and I've always been a clean rider. I hope they can just identify the difference between some bigger name, more commonly talked about substances that we haven't tested positive for and certainly haven't ever considered having anything to do with. There's a big difference between that sort of stuff and what we've tested positive for. And how easily it can happen; caffeine is a stimulant and caffeine is in everything.
I'd just like to say to people that if you've ever had a coffee before to try and amp yourself up for a race or something, then you've essentially tried to do something that... You know, everyone is drinking coffee all the time, so everyone's guilty of taking a stimulant of some degree to try and energize themselves for a race or whatever.
The situation that I'm in at the moment, a lot of people could be in if they had been tested at that race. Just try and not jump to conclusions.