The Italian National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) announced on Wednesday 27 July that elite amateur cyclist Marco Cecchinato has been provisionally suspended for violation of anti-doping rules. With an anti-doping test ordered and performed by NADO technicians, Cecchinato returned a positive test result for the banned substances Clostebol Metabolite and GW501516 Metabolites, according to reports from the Italian sporting news Corriere dello Sport.

Cecchinato formerly raced for The Sky Bike Channel Team and also the Bahumer Racing Team in the Red Hook Crit fixed gear series.

GW501516 increases fat-burning capacity and muscle production, as it changes the body’s fuel preference from glucose to lipids and can help increase a cyclist’s power-to-weight ratio or watts of power produced per kilogram of body weight. The drug was originally developed for treatment of obesity and diabetes, but was withdrawn for human use after it was shown to cause rapid cancer development in animal testing. 

Tests on rats showed that at all doses, the drug rapidly causes cancers in a multitude of organs, including the liver, bladder, stomach, skin, thyroid, tongue, testes, ovaries and womb,” the science and technology publication New Scientist noted in 2013.

Clostebol is a performance enhancing steroid substance banned by the World Anti Doping Organization that mimics testosterone, but unlike testosterone it does not break down into estrogen, which is counterproductive to muscle growth.  Athletes trying to illicitly add muscle mass use Clostebol since it is readily available, keeps testosterone levels high and estrogen low so unwanted side affects, like breast enlargement, are minimized.

Use of Clostebol by Italian amateur cyclists has been increasing over the last few years with numerous riders testing positive, including Marco Larossa, Marco Provera, Thomas Bergamini, Andrea Magnini and Pierpaolo Ficara.

Photos: AlphaLabs, Bike Channel Team