Current Enduro World Series leader, Martin Maes, has failed anti-doping tests in Rotorua (March 24th) and Tasmania (March 31st).
Maes returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for Probenecid, a masking agent prohibited by WADA. Probenecid is named under S5 of the WADA list as a Diuretic and Masking Agent; it is a specified substance, which means that it can be ingested accidentally and in some cases can result in a more lenient sanction. Maes apparently took the drug on the advice of doctors to help him recover from a cut he sustained on his leg at the NZ Enduro (March 7th-10th).
Dr Tom Jerram, who prescribed the drug to help boost the effects of antibiotics, described the wound as “life or limb threatening”. Both Martin and his team manager Mark Maurissen inquired if the drug was banned but there was apparently no phone signal to check.
As the Probenecid was prescribed by a trained doctor, the GT team applied to the UCI for a TUE (Theraputic Use Exemption), which allows athletes to take prohibited substances without punishment if they have a medical need. The UCI denied this request on June 1, after the failed tests, but they did accept that the drug would not have enhanced his performance and was administered by a doctor so handed down a more lenient punishment than the maximum possible two year ban.
Maes was tested again in Madeira (May 12th) where he returned a negative. The UCI have imposed a 90 day suspension starting from the weekend after Madeira that will end the weekend of the Whistler EWS. He will be stripped of his wins from Tasmania and Rotorua but will be able to keep his result from Madeira. He will not be eligible to race the Whistler EWS.
UCI statement on Martin Maes
Jun 26, 2019
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the Belgian rider Martin Maes has been suspended for a period of 90 days for a non-intentional Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV).
The affair concerns an ADRV for the presence of the prohibited substance Probenecid* in samples collected in-competition on 24 and 31 March 2019.
As per the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules (ADR), the sanction began on 13 May 2019.
Moreover, the results obtained by the rider in rounds 1 and 2 of the Enduro World Series have been annulled. This is not the case however for round 3, where he tested negative.
The case has been resolved via an acceptance of consequences as provided for by the WADC and the UCI ADR.
The UCI will not comment any further.
* Probenecid is classified in the category “Diuretics and Masking Agents” and considered a specified substance as per the World Anti-Doping Prohibited List.
Martin Maes' doctor, who provided him with the probenecid at the NZ Enduro had the following statement:
Maes is now the third rider to fail a drug test in the EWS after Richie Rude and Jared Graves tested positive in November
. Richie Rude was judged to have ingested Higenamine and Oxilofrine accidentally and has now returned to racing after an 8 month ban. We are still awaiting official confirmation on Jared Graves' ruling for the same two substances. Martin was tested at the same time as Jared and Richie in Olargues but did not return a positive result.
GT statement on Martin Maes
Jun 26, 2019
On May 21, 2019, GT Factory Racing athlete Martin Maes was notified by the Cycling Anti- doping Federation (CADF) of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for a prohibited substance. There was a high level of Probenecid in his test samples from EWS Round 1 in New Zealand and EWS Round 2 in Tasmania in March 2019. Probenecid is on the UCI’s List of Prohibited Substances and Methods. The Probenecid and a related antibiotic were prescribed by an official race doctor at the New Zealand Enduro to help treat a serious infection in Martin’s leg.
According to the official race doctor: “Martin sustained a lower leg laceration which developed a serious infection while racing the New Zealand Enduro (March 8-10, 2019). The infection was worsening despite standard doses of antibiotics, and it had the potential to become life threatening. The doctors at the New Zealand Enduro elected to add Probenecid, which is commonly used to boost blood levels of penicillin-type antibiotics, and it was effective in treating Martin’s infection. It is a common part of all of our practices to use this medicine in the setting of serious infection.
“At the time, neither the volunteer medical team nor Martin considered that Probenecid would be on the banned substance list. It has no performance enhancing effects, and in fact, Martin’s performance was likely to have been impaired in the weeks following due to the severity of the infection.” - Dr. Tom Jerram MBChB (Hons) FACEM Emergency Physician and Volunteer Medical Director of the New Zealand Enduro.
On June 1, 2019, Martin received a denial for his Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) request. While the CADF TUE committee recognized the Probenecid was purely for medical reasons and that it would not have provided additional enhancement to Martin’s performance, the TUE was still not approved.
GT Factory Racing fully supports Martin Maes in this situation due to the understanding that neither he, nor the team, took any actions to intentionally violate anti-doping rules or regulations. On the contrary, Martin inquired with the official race doctors if the prescriptions they had given him were acceptable for use by a UCI athlete and the race doctors were acting within their clinical responsibility to treat a potentially life-threatening infection in Martin’s leg.
GT Factory Racing is committed to creating and fostering an environment where riders can perform to the best of their ability, within all rules and regulations mandated by the governing body of the sport. GT invests in teams and athletes because of the love of the sport, and racing is a way to connect with their passionate fan base.
Each GT team and rider understands that support comes with strict requirements regarding the rules and regulations that govern the sport. It is for this reason that Martin will accept the UCI’s ruling.
“I’m speechless at the moment. My entire life has been dedicated to cycling and racing since 2013. I’ve trained so hard to make my dreams come true. There was an emergency to treat an infected wound, and we did not double-check the prescription from the doctors. This is our sole mistake. Now, it’s time to face the situation, train harder than ever, and get back very soon to convert that frustration into pleasure and performance on my bike.”
The UCI complies with a set of strict rules and regulations, but also fully acknowledged the circumstances and that this was not a deliberate violation of any antidoping rules. As a result, Martin will be prohibited from racing for a period of ninety days. He will be disqualified from rounds 1 and 2 of the EWS and will be required to pay a fine of 2,500CHF. However, his win and results from EWS Madeira will not be affected as he returned a negative test result after going through doping controls at this event.
Martin is and will remain an advocate for clean and fair racing. He will return to the season stronger than before. Meanwhile, he’ll stand next to his teammates and will fully support them during the next Enduro World Series’ events.
EWS statement on Martin Maes
Jun 26, 2019
We write this as we learn of the adverse analytical finding and subsequent penalty imposed by the UCI on Martin Maes following anti-doping tests carried out at Round 1 and Round 2 of the 2019 Enduro World Series.
We will not pass comment on the details of this case as that is the duty of the UCI and the athlete involved but we acknowledge and respect the outcome of this unfortunate case and 2019 series rankings will be updated accordingly.
We will state that from the beginning of the Enduro World Series, as we celebrate our 50th event this coming weekend, that we have always placed athlete health and safety at the very fore and have worked hard to create everything a new sport needs, ultimately partnering closely with the UCI and adopting all associated international sporting laws and practices while taking the international lead on others, including medical and head injury guidance. This week in Canazei we host our first anti-doping rider and team educational seminar alongside the UCI Legal Anti-Doping Services, a further investment of the EWS in athlete education and best practice.
What is important in this and previous cases is not to apportion blame, but to look at how everyone can avoid these occurrences from happening again.
Therefore, the prescription of medication outside of EWS racing that has ultimately lead to the penalty imposed on Martin Maes must serve as a lesson to all athletes, organisers, teams, coaches and medics that although the athlete will always be held responsible in the outcome of an adverse anti-doping finding, all parties in mountain bike sport must be responsible at all levels for learning and operating at the highest level, and with the best knowledge available.
We will continue to work to educate all parties in and out of the EWS family of riders, teams and events and urge all other parties in the sport out-with the official EWS sphere recognise the potential impact of their actions on riders and seek as much education as possible in order to protect the sport, and every rider within it.
More to follow.