UPDATE 19 March 2022: Mikkel Videbaek statement added.

For the second time in two years, the grand champion of the 6500 rider Strade Bianche Gran Fondo has been accused of doping violations after he skipped out on anti-doping tests, according to an Italian National Anti Doping Organization (NADO) press release. Therefore, NADO has provisionally suspend 2023 Gran Fondo Strade Bianche winner Mikkel Videbaek.

The 29 year-old Danish rider is accused of violating NADO rule 2.3, “Evading Sample collection; or refusing or failing to submit to Sample collection without compelling justification after notification by a duly authorized Person.”

Videbaek (Tessera Giornaliera) won the storied 138km mixed surface race on the white gravel roads of Tuscany with a seemingly unbelievable lead, 1:46, over Italy’s best amateur gran fondo riders – Colonna, Orlando, Romano, De Marchi, Pozzetto, Elettrico, Cigala, Mauti and Passasrotto.

Videbaek, an attorney, now plans to vigorously fight the NADO accusation and issued the following statement to Gran Fondo Daily News, as well as NADO Chief Prosecutor Cons. Pierfilippo Laviani.

Following having crossed the line of Strade Bianche I was approached by a very kind man from the organisation who immediately explained the next steps of the event to me.

I immediately informed the guy from the organisation that I was in Siena with a group of friends and that we had a plane back home to Copenhagen scheduled from Malpensa Airport later that same day (20.05 in the evening). Ticket from SAS is attached as Schedule 1. As Siena is a 4h30min drive from Malpensa Airport and as we should return the rental car at the terminal at 18.00, we had scheduled departure from Siena at 13.30. Rental car invoice is attached as Schedule 2.

Once I got into the anti-doping control room, the officers present spent around 30-40 minutes to verify me as they could not understand that I had not raced Strade Bianche without my passport in my pocket. While I waited for verification, I drank five bottles of water to speed up the urination time. Following verification, I signed a notification form allowing the anti-doping agency to come test me out of compe- tition for the time going forward. At this point in time, I stressed that I was under a very tight timeframe due to the scheduled plane back home and car return. Due to this fact I offered the officers to take a blood sample as this would take about one minute and we could be done with the testing. That was denied by the officer.

After having spent 1h30min in the anti-doping room, I once again stressed that I had to leave due to our group’s very tight time schedule.

After this I went to bathroom with one of the officers trying to complete the test, but at this time it was still impossible for me to pee.

Following this, the officers said that I could leave if I signed a document stating that I refused to get tested. I specifically told them at there was no way that I was going to sign such statement as I did not refuse to take any tests as I had offered a blood sample and as I have spent around 1h30min trying to complete the test. Furthermore, I asked the officers to arrange an anti-doping test with Anti-Doping Denmark upon my arrival in Denmark. That was also denied by the officers. The officer, however, acknowledged that I did not refuse to get tested but that I still had to sign such statement because “that was the rules”.

I told the officers that I would rather leave without signing such statement than signing an untrue state- ment as I had never refused to take any tests. After some further discussions around this, the officer told me to write down that I could not complete the test due to a scheduled plane home. I wrote that down and left the room, and once again told them to arrange a test in Denmark, exactly to avoid this particular situation.

Mikkel Videbaek

If found guilty of the anti-doping violation, Videbaek could receive up to a four-year ban, the same as if he tested positive for a banned substance like EPO. Additionally, a 50,000 euro fine might be imposed on him by organizer A.S.O to cover damages, according to event rules.

Videbaek is the second 2023 Gran Fondo Strade Bianche rider to be suspended for missing or evading a required anti-doping test. Medio fondo bronze medalist Giulio Scopetani has also been provisionally suspended for the same violation.

In 2021 Gran Fondo Strade Bianche Champion Onofrio Monzilla tested positive for EPO and received a three year ban, which has since increased to eleven years after Monzilla was convicted of additional anti-doping violations.

Media/Photos: A.S.O.

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