Martin Maes has arrived in Canazei but he unfortunately won't be racing after the UCI handed down a 90 day suspension
following two failed drugs tests in Rotorua and Tasmania. The extenuating circumstances mean that this is the most lenient punishment they can hand out but it still spoils Maes' perfect start to the season. How are the EWS Results Affected?
As Martin has been stripped of his results in Rotorua and Tasmania, we now have two new winners in the EWS. While we’re sure neither of them will have wanted to win this way, the history books will have them down as fastest on the day. The updated results and overall standings are below.Rotorua Results:
1st. Keegan WRIGHT (NZL) 27:34.83
2nd. Florian NICOLAI (FRA) +0:17.38
3rd. Jesse MELAMED (CAN) +0:27.62
4th. Cole LUCAS (NZL) +0:29.15
5th. Kevin MIQUEL (FRA) +0:34.51Tasmania Results:
1st. Florian NICOLAI (FRA) 24:04.730
2nd. Connor FEARON (AUS) +5.86
3rd. Remi GAUVIN (CAN) +8.01
4th. Kevin MIQUEL (FRA) +8.48
5th. Keegan WRIGHT (NZL) +13.31 Overall Standings
Martin had the largest lead ever after the first three rounds of an EWS series thanks to three round wins and a bonus 120 points thanks to a clean sweep of Queen stage wins too. He hands over his Queen stage titles to Keegan Wright in Rotorua and Connor Fearon in Tasmania but this doesn’t massively affect the overall with most riders just getting bumped up one place.
1st. Florian NICOLAI (FRA) - 1320
2nd. Jesse MELAMED (CAN) - 1210
3rd. Remi GAUVIN (CAN) - 1120
4th. Kevin MIQUEL (FRA) - 1100
5th. Sam HILL (AUS) - 10704 Quick Facts About Martin Maes' UCI Suspension1. What is Probenecid?
Probenecid is a drug that is primarily used for treating gout, however it also used by doctors as it prevents the kidneys from processing antibiotics and increases their levels in the blood. It is this latter role that puts it on the WADA prohibited substances list as it can also have the same retentive effect on steroids.
Theoretically, if an athlete knows a test is coming up they can take a large dose of probenecid that will prevent any steroids in their body entering their urine. They will still fail the urine test for having probenecid in their system but it could potentially mask a ‘more serious’ infringement.
Much like Higenamine and Oxilofrine, Probenecid is a specified substance, a subcategory of prohibited substances that are not necessarily less potent but they do leave open the possibility of a reduced sentence through a plausible explanation such as Martin's.
Unlike other performance enhancing drugs, Specified Substances also do not warrant the instant “mandatory, provisional suspension” that is usually imposed when an athlete tests positive for a banned substance. This explains why Martin was allowed to compete at Madeira and Tasmania, despite a positive test.
WADA’s strict liability rule means that unintentional or negligent consumption does not absolve an athlete of responsibility.2. Who Else Has Tested Positive for Probenecid?
While Martin is currently the only cyclist banned for Probenecid use, it is more prevalent in other sports. Just four days ago, Indian long distance runner, Sanjeevani Jadhav, was also popped for having it her blood. Previously, Olympic gold medal winning 100m relay sprinter Gil Roberts returned a positive test for the drug but he was cleared as it was ruled that the drug passed into his system after he kissed his girlfriend who had a sinus infection.3. How Could Martin Have Fought the Ruling?
A TUE, or Therapeutic Use Exemption, allows an athlete to take a prohibited substance if they have an illness or condition that requires them to take it. Martin applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption for Probenecid but was denied on June 1, the UCI apparently denied it because an alternative to probenecid is available but wasn't used at the time.
Martin also had the option to fight the ruling in a Sports Tribunal but from what we understand, he and his team decided it was better to see out the remaining six weeks of the suspension and accept the consequences. A Tribunal could have taken much longer than six weeks and even then there is no guarantee it would change the outcome.4. What Next for Martin?
Martin has made the trip to Canazei this weekend because he feels like he has nothing to hide. He will be answering questions from media, racers and fans. The EWS is also hosting a drugs workshop on Thursday night to help educate riders about the WADA list and accidental ingestion.
Martin will be suspended until the weekend of the Whistler EWS but he will return for Northstar. He says his biggest focus is now the downhill World Championships in Mont Sainte Anne.Previously:Martin Maes Tests Positive for Masking Agent at EWS Rotorua and Tasmania, Receives 90 Day Non-Intentional SuspensionInterview: Martin Maes - "I'm Not Guilty... I Just Made a Stupid Mistake"