Mathias Flückiger has spoken out about his doping case for the first time since an A-sample doping test detected Zeranol
in his system and claims that he has not knowingly ingested the substance, a chemical compound sometimes used to encourage rapid growth in cattle.
"I have not knowingly ingested Zeranol," Flückiger said, without additional comment.
According to a press release from the Thömus Maxon team's media representation, the amount of Zeranol detected in Flückiger's sample was 0.3 ng/mL, many times lower than the threshold value for possible contaminated meat consumption. WADA has reportedly issued instructions
for anti-doping authorities in such cases, advising them that detection of a minimal amount below 5 ng/mL should be reported as an 'atypical result,' rather than 'positive.' Those directions were not followed by Swiss Sport Integrity, who reported the sample.
Zeranol is a metabolite of the mycotoxin zearalenone, which can infect grains eaten by livestock and can be passed into the systems of those who eat that livestock. In cases of zeranol detection in doping samples, it is advised
that the samples be tested for zearalenone and its other metabolites, α-zearalenol and β-zearalenol - none of which are produced or found in samples when zeranol is administered on its own as an anabolic agent. Zeranol has been banned for use as an anabolic agent in animals in the EU since 1988, but mycotoxin origin is a possibility.
The press release also states that Flückiger tested negative just a few days before and a few days after his reported positive test June 5, though it's unclear where those tests were analyzed. The Lausanne laboratory that found the zeranol in Flückiger's sample is said to use more sensitive technology than other labs.
Flückiger has requested all documentation regarding his test from Swiss Sport Integrity, and all deadlines surrounding the case have been suspended until the documentation is handed over. No B-sample test has been requested to date, but a hair analysis has been commissioned.
Flückiger has assured the authorities that he's willing to cooperate with the investigation.