Cycling News

French cyclist’s EPO positive test ends up being a negative

doping UCI

Gauthier Navarro tested positive for EPO–but maintained his innocence throughout, Now, after serving well over a year of suspension, he as been cleared of wrongdoing. The 24-year-old is happy to race again, but he is also seeking compensation for the damage suffered during this period. According to reports from French news outlet L’Équipe, Navarro and his lawyer are preparing to take legal action against the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD). Navarro’s suspension stemmed from a positive EPO test during the under-23 Ronde de l’Isard race in 2021. He added he has also had no apology from the AFLD as well.

First drug test in his career

In 2021, he underwent his first anti-doping test with great optimism, feeling he had finally joined the ranks of the elite athletes, as he said in an interview with L’Équipe. He basically figured he had finally made the big leagues.

However, this optimism quickly turned to regret when, a few weeks later, subsequent tests revealed the presence of EPO in his system, leading to his temporary suspension from all cycling-related activities and the termination of his contract with DN1 team.

Despite this, Navarro was never officially declared positive during the course of multiple tests. While three out of four urine tests produced “atypical” results, one was negative, and all blood tests returned negative. The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) defended its decision to suspend Navarro to L’Équipe, citing the need for thorough investigation in cases of atypical results, despite lingering doubts.

“When an atypical situation arises, additional investigations are conducted to clarify the situation. In the case of Mr. Navarro, whose sample was declared abnormal in accordance with international standards, this is the conduct AFLD has pursued.”

Seeking revenge in competition

The temporary suspension was lifted after fifteen months of these additional procedures. He is fighting in court for significant financial compensation, commensurate with the damages he suffered from the interruption of his career at 21.

“I am motivated to return to competition out of passion but also out of revenge. My childhood dream was unjustly destroyed without anything I could do about it,” Navarro said.

His lawyer, Maître Chiron, also spoke with L’Équipe.

“After fifteen months of suspension, we are told that the procedure is over. There are no excuses, nothing. The AFLD does not realize the harm it can do to…

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