Lizzie Armistead, World Champion, has won her British Cycling backed legal case against UK Anti-Doping for 3 missed tests within a 12 month period and avoiding a potential 4 year ban.
Firstly let that last bit sink in. Miss 3 tests, get a 4 year ban. That is how seriously missed tests are taken.
Lizzie is World Champion, former National Champion, my cycling crush and Yorkshire lass. Basically in my eyes she was perfect but this saga has not only tainted Lizzie and British Cycling in my eyes, it has and will do so in the cycling community in general.
Test 1 was missed due to a UKAD error, CAS accepted this. Test 2 and 3 (according to Armistead) was her own admin error and a serious family illness. It would appear that the first test has only been challenged after tests 2 and 3 were missed and resulting in her provisional ban of 3 weeks.
There are a few major issues with this story:
- Why was missed test 1 not challenged at the time?
- Why, when cycling is your job, has Lizzie allowed herself to miss a further 2 tests?
- Why was the World Champion’s doping violation provisional ban not reported?
- Why was her CAS case not reported?
- Why are British Cycling funding legal cases with membership money?
I suppose 1 is possible competency, thinking she won’t miss another. 2 is a mystery, only Lizzie can answer this but we have to take her word for these missed tests. The problem is with all the secrecy surrounding her ban and CAS case it reminisces of the dark days of cycling making her word harder to accept.
3, 4 and 5 are disturbingly obvious. The media secrecy must have been so British Cycling wasn’t mentioned as the world was slating Russia’s doping athletes and subsequent bans. They kept it out of the media until the hearing was over and won so it was less of a story. British Cycling had to fund and win the case or every athlete would be under scrutiny at Rio. Basically when that third test was missed the shit hit the fan and lockdown occurred.
For me the whole thing stinks. Even if Lizzie is clean the way that British Cycling and has gone about this is wrong. It’s like the Omertà all over again, secrecy and damage reduction.
British Cycling stands for transparent, clean cycling. This story is riddled with secrecy and missed tests. I’m disgusted with them.