Doping | Is Mathias Flückiger cleared and back in 2023?
The end of the tunnel for Mathias Flückiger? In mid-August, the Swiss was suspended by Swiss Sports Integrity, Switzerland’s anti-doping agency, after testing potentially positive for Zeranol during the national championships. Since then, driver Thömus-Maxon, who won two rounds of the world cup in 2022, has continuously declared his innocence and surprisingly took the case to court. The decision has just been made and it’s in his favor:
It’s been over 3 months since we heard from Mathias Flückiger, either officially or via social media. From a press release issued by his team to publicize his version of the facts and demonstrate his innocence (see: Doping | Mathias Flückiger claims his innocence), the Swiss decided to keep a low profile pending the outcome of the case.
This new press release, this time issued directly by the athlete’s entourage, reviews the various procedures that have taken place in the interval and is particularly critical of the conduct of the Swiss Sports Integrity since the events began.
In particular, we learn that the disciplinary chamber of the Swiss Olympic Committee (Switzerland’s governing body for sports) has decided to temporarily suspend all proceedings in the anti-terrorist organization against Mathias Flückiger, following the “questionable” decisions of Swiss Sports Integrity regarding the first instance. the doping agency, which specifically explains why the famous B sample was never analyzed.
Recall that in our previous article, we explained to you that the decision of Swiss Sports Integrity to declare the sample positive is contrary to the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency and recommended that the sample be classified as “atypical”. elements of the file (accused product, low concentration, negative tests shortly before and after).
The procedure was stopped, Mathias Flückiger was then able to bring new information to the disciplinary chamber: a hair analysis by an expert in the field that proved negative, evidence of food contamination or even scientific evidence and documents from the World Anti-Doping Agency which show “It is very unlikely [le Zeranol] has an anabolic effect in humans”, in traditional use as well as in micro doses. This is stated in the press release “The chemical structures of Testosterone and Zeranol are fundamentally different, as are their mechanisms of action”.
After studying these arguments, the disciplinary chamber decided to cancel the temporary dismissal of the Swiss pilot. Swiss Sports Integrity is obliged to comply with this decision and must evaluate the sample as an “atypical sample”.
What is the meaning of this? According to the World Anti-Doping Code, it is an atypical example “A report requiring further review by a WADA-accredited laboratory or other WADA-approved laboratory in accordance with the International Laboratory Standard or relevant technical documentation prior to the determination of an abnormal analytical result.” In other words, it is a result that deviates slightly from the norm, enough to be noticeable, but not enough to be classified as abnormal (ie, positive). Further investigations are then required and usually no discontinuation should be declared with an atypical result.
On the side of Mathias Flückiger, we do not hide his comfort. Therefore, in the absence of a new return, the Thömus-Maxon rider should be allowed to return to the pelotons for the following season: “I have never doped. The decision of the Disciplinary Chamber is a great relief to me. I had the worst five months of my life. After months of extremely stressful waiting, I am once again optimistic about the future. On the sports side, I am more motivated than ever and I have been working every day since my return. I haven’t participated in any competition for more than five months. During this time, I fell from 3rd to 24th in the world rankings, and my starting position suffered massively as a result. I also lacked training in competitions and missed the whole second half of the season, with the highlights of the European championships and the world championships. Now I’m planning my 2023 season and I want to start racing again soon.”
Such a press release issued by an abusive athlete should always be taken with a grain of salt, but it cannot be denied that Mathias Flückiger provides strong elements in favor of his innocence, and the Swiss Olympics decided to do so. With qualification and suspension as a positive example, Has Swiss Sports Integrity exceeded its functions? We can understand the desire to tighten anti-doping rules to discourage cheating athletes, but we must remember that biology remains a complex field. Anyway, life is finally getting back to normal for Mathias Flückiger, and if his innocence is proven by another party, we might be happy to see him at the start in 2023.
Our other articles on the same topic:
Mathias Flückiger was temporarily disqualified for doping
Doping | Mathias Flückiger declares his innocence
Full press release:
Mathias Flückiger’s provisional sentence was lifted
Big temporary success for Mathias Flückiger! The Disciplinary Chamber of the Swiss Olympic Games (SOC) decided that the atypical result of the Zeranol test cannot be considered as a positive doping sample. This means that the temporary suspension imposed by Swiss Sports Integrity (SSI) on August 18 will be lifted in about 120 days. For Flückiger, this is a huge and important victory in the fight to prove his innocence.
“I have never doped. The decision of the Disciplinary Chamber is a great relief to me. I had the worst five months of my life. After months of extremely stressful waiting, I am once again optimistic about the future. On the sports level, I am more motivated than ever and I am working every day after my return”, says Flückiger very satisfied.
Flashback: On September 16, 2022, Mathias Flückiger and his team submitted a detailed file to DK with explanations and signs of exoneration. With that, Flückiger demanded that the temporary suspension be lifted immediately.
The most important exculpatory circumstantial evidence:
– DK is realistically demonstrated with evidence of how food contamination can occur.
– Flückiger’s steroid profile is normal, completely harmless.
– Flückiger independently took a hair sample on August 31, 2022, and this sample was analyzed by Professor Pascal Kintz of the University of Strasbourg on September 12, 2022. Kintz is the world’s leading expert in this field and has made a name for himself especially in hair analysis. in criminal proceedings. Hair analysis was negative. No traces of Zeranol or its metabolites were found in Flückiger’s hair. This means that Mathias Flückiger did not take a small amount of Zeranol over a long period of time, nor a larger amount on a given day.
– Two negative samples were taken from Flückiger shortly before the atypical test result during the Swiss Leysin championship.
* Monday, May 30, 2022, training supervision by SSI, 6 days before the Swiss XCO Championship in Leysin.
* Race control by UCI/ITA after the XCC world cup victory in Leogang on Friday 10 June 2022, 5 days after the Swiss championships.
– In the case of Mathias Flückiger, there are several scientific evidences and conclusions that allow us to rule out the doping scenario: the scientific evidence available on Zeranol shows that it is very unlikely to have an anabolic effect in humans. Therefore, Zeranol is not used either in bodybuilding circles or by athletes as an anabolic steroid (WADA statistics). Zeranol is also not used in microdoses due to its ineffectiveness (unlike testosterone and testosterone-like anabolic androgenic steroids). The chemical structures of Testosterone and Zeranol are fundamentally different, as are their mechanisms of action.
It’s clear: If the World Anti-Doping Agency had followed WADA’s “Notification to Stakeholders Regarding Potential Cases of Meat Contamination,” SSI would never have issued such a provisional ban. This WADA Notice clarifies what must be done before a scratched Sample can be considered a “Negative Analytical Finding” (“Positive Sample”) in such a case. SSI did not follow most of these steps. The point is that the SSI should never have rated Flückiger’s sample as positive in the first place, only as atypical. However, a positive sample is a prerequisite for the imposition of a temporary ban or the creation of a B sample.
It is for this reason and from this point of view that the DK made the first important decision in favor of Flückiger on September 28, 2022. DK suspended SSI temporarily (without hearing SSI). This means that all deadlines for the normal doping procedure have been suspended until further notice. Thus, with the opening of the B sample, the DK did not allow the SSI to continue with the “normal” procedure in the doping case.
The lifting of the temporary ban, which will take effect immediately on December 17, 2022, is very important for Flückiger in several respects: “I have not participated in any competition for more than five months. During this time, I fell from 3rd to 24th in the world rankings, and my starting position suffered massively as a result. I also lacked training in competitions and missed the whole second half of the season, with the highlights of the European championships and the world championships. Now I’m planning my 2023 season and I want to start racing again soon.”
Now the issue falls on SSI. Based on stakeholder recommendations, the National Anti-Doping Agency may re-evaluate the Sample as an adverse or atypical analytical finding no later than June 5, 2022. SSI cannot legally object to the decision of DK.