After winning the amateur 2021 UCI World MTB Marathon Championship in the 45-49 year-old category, Italian Stefano Lanzi tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol and has been suspended from competition by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).  Lanzi is the second amateur UCI World Champion to be suspended for alleged doping violations this month after 2017 UCI Gran Fondo World Champion Simona Parente was suspended by the Italian Cycling Federation.

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The 46 year-old Lanzi claims the positive result is due to taking Cortisone for a past injury and told Italy24 he will put forth a vigorous defense at his trial and “explain everything shortly.” 

Adding, “Last year I was the victim of a bad injury in which I broke some vertebrae and spent a few days in traction on a hospital bed, since then I have been prescribed medicines, some based on cortisone, my mistake was never having communicated it to the anti-doping authorities.”

Unfortunately for Lanzi, trying to link a positive Clenbuteral result to Cortisone use is a long shot, a very long shot, since Cortisone does not contain Clenbuteral.

In total, this is very bad news for Lanzi, who now risks a long suspension for, at a minimum, not following the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) procedures or for intentionally using banned substances to gain a performance advantage.  

Clenbuterol is an anabolic agent that is traditionally prescribed to treatment asthma, however it has also been widely used as a performance-enhancing substance by endurance athletes.  Most famously by Alberto Contador who was banned for two years and stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title and 2011 Giro d’Italia victory after testing positive for the drug at the 2010 Tour de France.

Lanzi hopes to explain his positive test result as just a case of poor judgement.  

“At the Doping Control I presented myself with all my medical records of the injury in tow thinking I was in good faith, but the doctors did not hear any reasons and they did not even want to see it, motivating that my particular situation should be previously reported to the competent body, which unfortunately I never did because I thought it was not required.”

With more than a decade of elite level racing experience, Lanzi is, no doubt, very familiar with anti doping protocols.   

The athlete from Valmalenco, Italy is one of the best amateur MTB riders in Europe, having not only won the World Championships, but also the Italian National Championships and numerous other top races.  In 2021, he won his age category in every race entered and credits his success to his training regime. 

“Whoever knows me knows how much effort and how many hard workouts I have done in many years of activity on the saddle of a mountain bike, upon learning the news it is as if everything had collapsed on me, I am very disappointed.”

PHOTOS: MBNews

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