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by Dane Cash
January 22, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
Denise Betsema, who is set to return to racing this weekend after serving a suspension, said in a press conference Tuesday that she proved a contaminated supplement was behind her adverse analytical findings for steroids last year, leading to a retroactive ban of six months.
According to Wielerflits, the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider said that she showed that a Belgian pharmacist was responsible for the contamination, and the UCI determined that she did not intentionally dope. She was given a six-month back-dated suspension that officially ended in October. The UCI announced the timeline of the suspension in a statement on Monday but provided no further details and said it would not comment on the case.
Betsema said that the UCI looked into her supplement in September at a lab in Germany, and that the results came back in December showing contamination.
“It has been proven black and white that a contaminated supplement was the basis for the deviating values of my test,” Betsema said. “And especially that I never had the intention to use doping.”
As Betsema is preparing to return to racing at Zonnebeke on Saturday, Katie Compton and Katerina Nash were among a handful of notable members of the cyclocross world criticizing the short nature of her suspension.
“This is such bull shit, a rider tests positive TWICE for anabolic steroids & she gets a 6month off-season ban?” Compton wrote on Twitter. “@UCI_cycling lets clean athletes down yet again.”
Asked at her press conference about the way she will be received by rivals when she gets back to racing, Betsema focused on those who have been supportive.
“I have received a lot of support from certain colleagues, but less nice words have been expressed,” she said, according to Wielerflits. “However, I don’t care.”