Professional cyclist Shari Bossuyt has decided not to contest the two-year doping suspension imposed on her by the UCI, as revealed in a comprehensive statement on her Instagram. Despite maintaining her innocence, the Belgian cyclist expressed frustration at the lack of nuance and consultation in the process.
Bossuyt highlighted the difficulty in proving the source of contamination, citing the challenges of providing official reports from bodies like the Food Safety Agency or laboratories, which are costly and time-consuming.
No appeal due to cash flow problems
Bossuyt acknowledged that, although there is a likely understanding of the contamination’s origin, official proof remains elusive. Financial constraints and the emotional toll of the ongoing battle led her to forgo an appeal. The 23-year-old emphasized the mental health impact of being labelled a “doping sinner,” lamenting the end of her Olympic dream. Despite that, she expressed gratitude for the support she received and affirmed her commitment to returning stronger through continued exercise.
Positive from March 2023
Bossuyt, who tested positive after a Tour of Normandy stage in March 2023, stressed her innocence throughout the ordeal. Notably, her employer’s zero-tolerance policy led to her suspension, mirroring the situation faced by cyclo-cross rider Toon Aerts, who also tested positive for letrozole metabolite. Aerts eventually served a two-year suspension after a prolonged and uncertain period.
Proposal for suspension
“On Dec. 4, I received the verdict from the AFLD (Agence française de lutte contre le dopage, the anti-doping agency) with a proposal for my suspension,” Bossuyt began. “As expected, they have proposed a two-year suspension. They confirm and acknowledge the fact that the contamination was not intentional. But we cannot, as with Toon Aerts, prove the source of the contamination. For that reason, they cannot further limit the punishment.
“It is precisely at this point that the whole thing frustrates me immensely! No humanity or nuance, no consultation whatsoever. Explain to me how an athlete can be able to prove contamination through food,” Bossuyt added.
“Puzzle piece by puzzle piece, we now know almost certainly where the contamination comes from. But unfortunately, we can’t officially prove this. Official reports are needed for this. These reports can only be issued…