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Relieved Lizzie Armitstead escapes ban to go for road race Rio Olympics gold

By Robert Jones

Published 03/08/2016

In the clear: Lizzie Armitstead successfully appealed ban
In the clear: Lizzie Armitstead successfully appealed ban

Lizzie Armitstead and British Cycling are facing questions over how one of Team GB's leading medal contenders was suspended for three weeks for a possible anti-doping violation without anyone being made aware, just days before the Rio Olympics.

Armitstead is one of the favourites to win the women's road race on Sunday after claiming World Championship gold in Richmond, Virginia last year, but she revealed on Monday night that she faced the prospect of a two-year ban after incurring three violations of the UK Anti-Doping's (Ukad's) whereabouts policy.

The 27-year-old took the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) and successfully appealed against the ban, having seen her first missed test at a World Cup event on August 20, 2015 declared void.

Subsequent missed tests came on October 5 after an administrative error, and the third was missed on June 9 this year following "an emergency change of plans due to a serious illness within her family".

Ukad confirmed that Armitstead has successfully appealed against the first missed test, although she did not look to have the decision overturned until she missed the third one and faced a ban from Rio 2016.

Armitstead confirmed that she was tested the day after the first missed test in Sweden with no positive drug test recorded.

She had failed to explain why she withdrew from La Course by Le Tour, the women's event that precedes the final stage of the Tour de France on July 24, and was keen to express her relief at the decision from Cas.

"I have always been and will always be a clean athlete and have been vocal in my anti-doping stance throughout my career," she said.

"I am pleased that Cas has accepted my position, having provided detailed information demonstrating the situation around my strikes."

Belfast Telegraph

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