Thursday 9 February 2012

Benjamin Martel receives two-year ban

With all the controversy surrounding the Contador case and the not-very-unexpected Ullrich verdict, it's easy to forget that other cyclists are going through similar processes at the moment. The latest to fall foul of the anti-doping testers in Canadian Team Spirit-Cannondale rider Benjamin Martel, who provided a sample that was subsequently found to contain abnormally high levels of testosterone at the Quebec Road Race Championships last year.

As was the case with Contador, Martel has been handed a two-year suspension backdated to the date of the test; meaning he will be able to compete again after the 28th of August 2013. Team manager Erik Lyman was caught out during his own professional career and realises that suspicions the team operates a doping program will now be raised, but refutes them: "Concerning Benjamin’s case, the doping rules are very clear; everyone is responsible for substances found in their own body. Benjamin has made an individual mistake which he will have to manage individually."Benjamin is no longer part of our modest organization and all of our riders have been informed that they are not allowed to be sportingly involved with him," he told reporters.

Martel won Stage 4 at the Coupe de la Paix in 2006, but has otherwise made little impact on the cycling world. His conviction serves as a reminder that doping remains a problem at all levels of the sport, not merely among the upper echelons that generate the headlines.

"This case of doping further highlights the need for continued testing and education," says John Tolkamp, president of the Canadian Cycling Asociation. "We must continue to educate the young riders on the need to race clean and be proud of their accomplishments in that vein while being vigilant towards those that will take shortcuts."

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