South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) has announced that 2012 UCI Gran Fondo World Champion and elite cyclist Lynette Burger, has been found guilty of intentionally violating World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) rules.

Burger won both the 2012 Road and Time Trial UCI Gran Fondo World Championship titles (formerly the UCI World Cycling Tour Finals) when the event was held in South Africa. After winning the she told The Oakley Dispatch, “…to wear the rainbow stripes of world champion is simply the best accomplishment for me.”

Burger winning 2012 Worlds

Now a guilty doping verdict has tarnished her accomplishments.

On 1 November 2019, Burger provided an out-of-competition sample after a whistle-blower had alerted SAIDS of potential doping violations.

SAIDS submitted the sample for analysis to the South African Doping Control Laboratory (SADoCoL). Their analysis confirmed the presence of Nandrolone, a banned substance listed in the SAIDS Anti-Doping Rules and the World Anti-Doping Prohibited List.

Nandrolone is associated with dramatic improvements in the levels of muscle mass, strength and endurance in athletes. Its reputation as an incredibly effective anabolic steroid is perhaps only surpassed by its reputation for being easy to detect. It’s one of eighteen steroids that every standard doping test screens for.

Burger did not request an analysis of her “B” sample. Though she initially denied using the prohibited substances, she alluded to the possibility that the substance was administered after an accident in 2018.

Legal advisers for Burger argued that she suffered from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and physical pain, as a result of her accident. They further argued that she used the substances to improve her mental state and not to gain an unfair performance advantage.

Comprehensive medical research was conducted by SAIDS to determine if the substances provided any mental health benefits, but SAIDS could not find any medical evidence of Nandrolone improving mental health.

Burger admitted to receiving anti-doping education and the requirement to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) if taking banned substances for medical reasons. However, Burger never applied for a TUE.

SAIDS rejected Burger’s defense and explanations in addition to denying her request for a reduced sanction. The 40 year-old cyclist received a four-year ban effective from 26 November 2019 and may return to competition on 26 November 2023.

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