British cyclist cleared to compete at the Olympics despite allegedly missing three drug tests

Lizzie Armitstead had been suspended by UK Anti-Doping but the decision was unanimously overturned by the court of arbitration for sport

Lizzie Armitstead

Image: Tim Goode / PA Wire/Press Association Images

British cyclist Lizzie Armitstead has had her suspension by UK Anti-Doping overturned after she was suspended for allegedly missing three drug tests.

The court of arbitration for sport today decided to unanimously overturn her suspension after the 27-year-old had "whereabouts" failures in August and October of 2015, as well as in June this year. 

However, a legal team - funded by British Cycling - struck the first test off the record by successfully arguing a testing official was at fault.

"The ruling relates to a Ukad anti-doping test which was asserted to have been attempted on Thursday 20 August, 2015, whilst Armitstead was staying at the team hotel, during the UCI Women’s Road World Cup in Sweden," read a statement released on behalf of the cyclist.

"I have always been and will always be a clean athlete and have been vocal in my anti-doping stance throughout my career,” said Armitstead. "I am pleased Cas has accepted my position, having provided detailed information demonstrating the situation around my strikes.

"This issue was one of administration and was the result of Ukad not following proper procedure nor fully attempting to make contact with me despite clear details being provided under 'whereabouts'. I was tested in competition the day after this test, reinforcing my position that I do not cheat and had no intention of not being tested.

"I think that there should be clearer guidelines for those administrating tests and would like to work with UKAD going forward to explore how this can be better addressed in the future so no other athlete is put in this position."

It is understood that when the tester showed up to the hotel at which she was staying in Sweden to be tested, he was refused the room number. Then, when he attempted to rind Armistead, her phone was on silent.

"British Cycling can confirm that following her appeal to the court of arbitration for sport, Lizzie Armitstead remains a part of the Team GB squad for the Rio Games," a spokesperson for British Cycling said. "We are satisfied that the matter has now been resolved and look forward to Rio, where we have full confidence that the team will be a great success."

The other two missed test will remain on the cyclists record. Should she incur a third in the space of 12 months, she could be liable to serve a four-year ban.

Via The Guardian