Leading South African rider Brandon Stewart has suspended himself over serious doping row for 11 months with Saids. The news has been confirmed by Stewart’s squad FedGroup.
The SA rider’s self-suspension is surely one of the most shocking incidents nit only in cycling but also in the wider sports world.
Last October, the FedGroup rider was informed about testing positive with a banned drug post a routine testing regimen taken 4 months earlier. South Africa Cycling also warned him about the possibility of being banned from pro cycling.
However, Stewart’s sponsors defended him saying that the “positive” result is due to the cyclist’s consumption of a clinically needed testosterone treatment – that he had already reported to the institute whilst appealing for therapeutic-use exemption. The athletes who are clinically required to consume banned substances are allowed to contend provided they have an approved exemption from their national anti-drug bodies.
“We are on full support of the initiatives aimed to achieve a drug-free sports scenario in South Africa. Brandon’s unpleasant tryst with the testing has culminated into voluntary self-suspension that can bring in serious negative kicks for the sport as a whole”, stated Scott Field, the CEO of FedGroup.
As per the reports from Stewart’s squad, the rider consulted a physician a year back following severe depression and mood swing experience on which he was advised to up his reduced testosterone levels. He consulted Anique Coetzee, the exemption liaison officer from Saids and she recommended the Nebido testosterone treatment to him. Stewart then further applied online requesting for the needed exemption for the medication.
Coetzee assured Stewart in writing that-“whilst the response for the application is pending, he is allowed to take up the treatment & continue racing.”
After 2 months of the application, the rider received an e-mail stating that Saids had decline his application.