Cycling: UK Anti-doping chief in the dark over Armitstead

Tue Aug 2, 2016 12:17pm EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The head of British anti-doping said on Tuesday she was still waiting to hear from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for a full explanation of why it overturned a ban for road cyclist Lizzie Armitstead for missing three doping tests.

The decision was also questioned by fellow cyclists, with one of the Briton's main rivals in Sunday's Olympic road race describing it as "just shameful".

The 2015 world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist was facing an automatic ban under the "whereabouts system" after three missed tests within a year but CAS upheld her appeal that correct procedures were not followed for the first of the tests, allowing her to compete in Rio.

Nicole Sapstead, chief executive of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) issued a statement on Tuesday questioning why Armitstead did not challenge the initial missed test finding last August, choosing to do so only last month after two subsequent missed tests triggered the ban last month, which was kept secret.

"When UKAD asserts a Whereabouts Failure against an athlete, the athlete has the opportunity to challenge the apparent Whereabouts Failure through an external Administrative Review, before it is confirmed," Sapstead said.

"Only when three Whereabouts Failures are confirmed is the case then put through an independent review to determine whether the athlete has a case to answer.

"Ms Armitstead chose not to challenge the first and second Whereabouts Failures at the time they were asserted against her. At the CAS hearing, Ms Armitstead raised a defense in relation to the first Whereabouts Failure, which was accepted by the Panel. We are awaiting the Reasoned Decision from the CAS Panel as to why the first Whereabouts Failure was not upheld."

Under the "Whereabouts System" athletes are required to inform anti-doping officials of a location where they can be contacted during a particular hour of every day.   Continued...

Britain's Elizabeth Armitstead waves before the women's cycling road race final at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton/Files