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by Neal Rogers
April 6, 2019
Photography by Cor Vos
Dutch cyclocross rider Denise Betsema tested positive for anabolic steroids at the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Hoogerheide on January 27, the UCI announced Friday.
In November, Betsema, a 26-year-old mother of two, surprised the biggest names in the sport to win the World Cup in Koksijde, Belgium, with a last-lap attack. That result brought her a pro contract with Marlux-Bingoal. Though she started the season ranked 83rd in the world, she finished the season ranked third.
She finished seventh at the Hoogerheide World Cup where she tested positive, and went on to finish fourth at the UCI World Championship one week later in Bogense, Denmark.
In an interview with Cyclocross Magazine published in January, Betsema said she’d lost about 18 pounds as part of her transformation from amateur to professional cyclocross racer. “I lost weight on purpose, but when you train a bit more, it also gets easier,” she said. “My husband has worked in fitness for eight years, so he always checks his diet, and he helped me to lose the weight. It was a bit easy.”
She echoed these sentiments about her meteoric rise in women’s international cyclocross, saying, “It was a bit easier than I expected… not easier, it came faster than I expected.”
The doping control was carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI. Betsema has the right to request and attend the analysis of her B sample. In accordance with UCI Anti-Doping Rules, she has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the procedure.