Cycling: Veteran cyclist banned for two years

A Kiwi cyclist was banned by Drug Free Sport NZ. Photo / Getty
A Kiwi cyclist was banned by Drug Free Sport NZ. Photo / Getty

The sports tribunal has suspended veteran cyclist Mark Spessot for two years for the presence of two prohibited substances in a sample.

Mr Spessot tested positive for prednisone and terbutaline after September's Twizel to Timaru cycling race.

The substances were taken by Mr Spessot in the two days before the race for genuine medical reasons and not to enhance sport performance.

Mr Spessot was provisionally suspended on December 23; the two-year ban has been backdated to September 19, the day of his event.

The Tribunal accepted Mr Spessot's evidence that the substances had been taken to relieve the symptoms of longstanding asthma.

The condition had been exacerbated by extreme temperature changes in his forest work as a silviculture contractor in the week prior to the event.

Due to his work commitments, Mr Spessot had not seen a doctor in relation to this asthmatic episode, and self-administered the prednisone and terbutaline from an earlier prescription.

At the time of testing, Mr Spessot disclosed the substances on his doping control form.

He subsequently exercised his right as a non-national level athlete to apply for a retrospective Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) from Drug Free Sport New Zealand. His application was declined on the basis that insufficient medical evidence had been provided to meet the requirements.

The tribunal was not persuaded that Mr Spessot could establish no significant fault or negligence. They felt he disregarded the strict obligations on all athletes under the sport anti-doping rules and could have avoided his predicament.

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