Yeti-Fox Factory Race Team rider Richie Rude has announced today on Instagram that he will be returning to the EWS after being under investigation by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD).
The case which we reported on back in November involved both Rude and Jared Graves when it was revealed that they both tested positive for the banned substances Higenamine and Oxilofrine at the third round of the EWS in France.
So far this year Rude has sat out of any major competition waiting for the final verdict from the AFLD and it appears today that they have served him an eight-month suspension, which he has has been able to serve retroactively because of his choice not to compete in the season so far. The suspension put forward by the AFLD will end on June 26 allowing Rude to enter into the fourth round of the EWS in Canazei, Italy.
"Thank you to everyone who has had my back for the last 8 months, family, friends, and sponsors. I would not be here today if it weren’t for you guys! You guys might be wondering, why am I thanking everyone? Well… I am super pumped to announce that I will be back racing in Italy for the next stop on the EWS calendar. Before I get back to racing I would like to fill everyone in on what has been going on in my world. Firstly, I would never do anything to harm this sport or jeopardize the result of another athlete or myself by cheating. Everyone works way too hard and a lot of sacrifices are made, I respect all my fellow competitors and love my fans and support system too much for that. So, in case some of you weren’t up to speed… Last year I had a doping infraction while racing in France. This whole thing was a shock to me. All in all, it was accidental ingestion of the substance. I had run out of water and used someone else’s bottle as we climbed up to the start of another stage. Due to it being accidental and the French anti-doping authorities also seeing it in this light, my “suspension” was backdated to when I stopped racing last season, and now I am free to continue the sport that I love. I'm thankful to be moving on from this. I hope this brings awareness and stands as a learning experience to others. Again, I want to say thank you to everyone who has stood by me and I look forward to seeing everyone at the races again soon!"— Richie Rude
Alongside the post on Instagram Rude included a more official statement regarding the incident which we have included below.
I am pleased to announce that I have been cleared to race in the remaining Enduro World Series races of 2019. My first race will be in Canazei, Italy, on June 29. I am also looking forward to competing in the Big Mountain Enduro series and other races on my original schedule. I would like to thank the Yeti-Fox Factory Race Team and my sponsors for supporting me throughout this process.
The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) recently ruled that I would serve an eight-month suspension for testing positive for trace amounts of banned substances oxilofrine and higenamine, on May 13, 2018, at EWS Round 3 in Montagnes du Caroux, France. My win from that race will be automatically vacated.
My other results and wins in 2018 at EWS Round 7 in Zona Zero, Spain, and Round 8 on Finale Ligure, Italy, will remain intact. My decision to refrain from racing until a ruling had been made by the AFLD allowed the suspension to be retroactively served starting Oct 26, 2018, and ending June 26, 2019.
With the AFLD process complete, I can now discuss the facts related to my case. I ran out of water after many hours in the saddle on Day 2 of the EWS Round 3 in Montagnes du Caroux, France. After climbing to the top of the stage, a fellow racer offered me a drink from a water bottle that was filled with a mix of water and dietary supplement. Fatigued and dehydrated, I took a few drinks from the bottle. We later determined that the bottle contained an over-the-counter supplement, which led to the unintentional ingestion of the banned substances for which I tested positive. I accept full responsibility for what happened in those late stages of day 2 and can only hope that this situation can serve as a learning moment for others, and that it helps to strengthen anti-doping testing and education throughout the sport.
Thanks again to my sponsors and all my fans. I can't wait to get back to racing!