Rourke Croeser tested positive on two occasions

South African cross country rider, Rourke Croeser, has been banned from sports for four years following two failed drugs tests towards the end of 2015.

Croeser is a 24-year-old athlete who claimed his best ever result at the World Cup finals in Val di Sole on 23 August 2015 when he finished 15th. He was a strong favourite to qualify for the South African Olympic squad.

Croeser tested positive for EPO on August 30 (just before the World Championships) and for Phentermine, a banned stimulant, after winning the Isuzu 3 Towers Stage Race in Mpumalanga on October 3.

Croeser requested that B samples be tested in both cases but these only confirmed the results of the initial test. Croeser had previously been withdrawn for competition after syringes were found in his luggage.

Croeser was initially placed on provisional suspension on October 8 and was yesterday found guilty on both counts. As he did not dispute the results he waived his right to a hearing. He has been given 21 day to appeal the decision but if he does not then he will be banned from competition until November 22, 2019.

With sports like tennis and road cycling under the spotlight for drugs use at the moment it’s a shame that mountain biking has been dragged into the squabble. We only hope that this is an isolated incident in the run up to the Olympics.