With the EWS season fast approaching, many of us have been expecting to hear the final verdict on Richie Rude and Jared Graves' failed drug test
. Well today isn’t that day, but there have been some developments in the background, and we’ve got some answers for you.
Will Richie Rude be racing in Rotorua?
This is the question many athletes have been asking, with mixed feelings all around.
He can technically race until an official verdict is handed down. He and Jared raced the second half of the 2018 season after being informed of the positive test, because the substances they tested positive for are in the "specified" category, which allowed them to avoid provisional suspension. Although they publicly confirmed their positive tests to us last November, nothing has changed with his eligibility to race.
In an email sent to riders this morning, the EWS clarified that it is "100% removed from all anti-doping cases" to maintain impartiality and neutrality and will not impose any sanctions or take any steps until an official ruling by AFLD has been made.
Despite being able to race, Richie informed us that he won’t be racing at the start of this season. A recent Instagram post was also tagged with #notrotorua
.What about Jared?
Jared is undergoing treatment for cancer
. We wish him the best in his recovery!
When will we get a verdict from the FFC/AFLD? Do we know where the banned substances came from yet?
No. The riders claim their ingestion was accidental, but it’s unclear if it was on a labeled supplement or something else. Their shared supplement sponsor Ryno Power denies ever having either of those substances in any of their products.
After our original story broke, photos emerged from a 2016 Vital MTB photo-set in Chile
with Graves taking ‘PEScience Alphamine,’ which contains (or contained) higenamine. Higenamine wasn't specifically named as a banned substance by WADA in 2016, but it is a beta 2 agonist, which were (and still are) banned. It's possible he was still using that supplement in 2018.
Several sources have suggested that the banned substances were in a water bottle that Jared shared with Richie at that race. Both racers were advised by their lawyer not to speculate on how they ingested the substances, so these reports are unconfirmed.
The letter of the law doesn't distinguish intent versus accidental ingestion—so if it was a friend’s water bottle, or they didn’t read labels, it may not matter. Whether it affects their potential sanctions isn’t clear.
No comment from them yet. Sources suggest it’s unlikely to get resolved before Q2 2019.Update: the AFLD is making changes to adopt full WADA guidelines, which may be contributing to a longer-than-normal process in this case.Was there any sponsor fallout?
It appears neither Jared nor Richie have lost any major sponsors regarding this situation. Richie is still on Red Bull and Yeti, and Jared is still on Monster and Specialized. Jared’s contract with Specialized was over last year, but they recently announced an extended deal while he undergoes cancer treatment. It's possible the situation has affected team sponsorships, as brands aren't sure if or when they'll be able to race again.What kind of sanction will Richie & Jared receive?
Nobody knows, this is uncharted territory. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has sanctions for Higenamine ranging from nine months to four years and two cases of Oxilofrine abuse, one with a six-month sanction and one with 18 months.
It's assumed that that their results from the race will be erased, and Richie Rude will be stripped of the win from EWS Olargues, making Adrien Dailly the winner and causing some pencil sharpening as the series has to recalculate some overall points.
However, there are more variables at play in this situation: the presence of 2 substances, the apparent bottle sharing, and that they were competing under a different ruleset. There may be EWS sanctions on top of UCI sanctions—we’ll address some of those complexities in another story.
Full Letter from the EWS to Athletes
"I write to you as a member of the Enduro World Series (EWS) or a Team Manager of an Official EWS Team.
As we reach the final days before the 2019 season begins I’m acutely aware that the anti-doping case that hit the headlines in 2018 still remains a question for all of you. I therefore feel you deserve some information on the position of the EWS on this matter.
I am aware that there is anger and upset among the riders that the situation is not resolved. Although I understand your frustration, and your feelings too, this do not change the position of the EWS, which is bound by anti-doping regulations, legal due process and athlete rights.
The key aspect of this situation is that the EWS is 100% removed from all anti-doping cases. As it should be. We hosted the French Anti Doping Agency (AFLD) to carry out their own tests in Olargues in 2018 and we will work with any findings they formally reach following those tests. But, the details of all open cases remain entirely confidential and between only two parties; the riders who were tested, and the agency that tested them. Therefore, we have as little insight and influence on the case as you do. This may seem strange, but it is correct, both ethically and legally and must be like this in order to maintain complete impartiality and neutrality during all anti-doping investigations in all sport, from the Olympics right down to EWS. We await a formal decision as much as you do. And we will not be able to determine any steps until that decision has been made, in this case by the AFLD.
We are increasingly asked if riders under investigation will be allowed to race in our series, and the answer is yes. Why? Because regardless of your or our personal opinions, the EWS makes all decisions based on fact and evidence and therefore until a formal decision is reached by the ruling party in the case, we have no official information to follow. It is by following due process, and treating all cases in the same way, that we maintain the sport’s legitimacy in the long term. We will never treat any case any differently to another. This is not showing any sympathy towards those in question, it is simply to maintain athlete rights and the high ethical standards we believe our sport deserves and each one of you would expect should you find yourselves in a similar situation.
While a case remains open and we have no notifications of any mandatory suspensions on any riders, the only way a rider will not take the start of an EWS is if they impose a voluntary ban on themselves. The EWS will respect any decisions reached by the parties in question until an official decision is made by the agency who carried out the tests.
We truly understand you're upset and understand this is an emotive topic for us all, but during these times I ask only that both the riders under investigation, and all other riders in our sport respect each other, and, like the EWS, respect the formal processes in place."
• Exclusive: Richie Rude & Jared Graves Failed Drug Test at EWS France
• Interview: Jared Graves Comments on Failed Drug Test
• Interview: Richie Rude Comments on Failed Drug Test
• Higenamine & Oxilofrine: What Are the Banned Substances that Jared Graves & Richie Rude Tested Positive For?