Toon Aerts from Team Baloise Trek Lions has been found guilty of using a banned drug, which was later confirmed with a doping test. The doping test was reportedly taken ten days before the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Arkansas (January 19).
Toon finished in sixth place in the Championship but that title will now be stripped off because of the positive doping test. Apart from this victory, the win in Lille, Gavere Superprestige, Brussels University Cyclocross, will also become void.
In an interview, Toon stated,
I will do everything I can to prove my innocence and clear my name.
Yesterday my world was turned upside down. I received a letter from the UCI that no athlete wants to receive in his career. I was informed that an abnormal result was found in my urine sample, which was taken during an out-of-competition check at my home on January 19th.
I am currently in the dark as to how this could have come about. The product ‘Letrozole Metabolite’ was found in my urine sample. A product that I had never heard of until yesterday and do not know how it got into my body.
The Banned Breast Cancer Drug “Letrozole” was found in the doping test, and the situation is looking really bad for Toon Aerts.
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Letrozole by nature is an aromatase inhibitor, although it slows down the progression of breast cancer. Apart from being used for breast cancer, athletes also abuse its usage. People who are used to anabolic steroids can use Letrozole to boost their testosterone levels as it then provides an advantage in terms of performance.
WADA has included Letrozole in its list of prohibited substances.
Persbericht Toon Aerts en Baloise Trek Lions – dinsdag 15 februari 2022 pic.twitter.com/1ohUPNvwnf
— Baloise Trek Lions (@Baloise_Trek) February 15, 2022
Toon Aerts has also pleaded for innocence and requested advanced analysis of his B-sample. He will be ending his season effective immediately until the results are clear and finalized.
Anyone who knows me a little knows that I have been against any form of doping all my career and have always done everything I can to set an example as an athlete.
I will therefore do everything I can to prove my innocence and clear my name. Pending the analysis of the B sample and further investigations, I will not comment. I would urge everyone to respect this and to give me and my family the time and opportunity to get more clarity first.
Naturally, Baloise Trek Lions has put Toon Aerts on the inactive list till the further investigation is concluded. They issued the following official statement:
We have given Toon a warm heart for years and we hope for soon and better news with him. As a precaution and in consultation with Toon, it has been decided that he will no longer take action and that he will be inactive until more is known.
Within Baloise Trek Lions, we have a strict zero-tolerance for doping for all our riders. As a team, we owe that to ourselves, the other riders in the team, and the cycling fans.
Using any kind of performance-enhancing drug is strictly prohibited by WADA. Hopes are high for further clarification of Toon Aert’s doping test. Stay tuned for more updates!
Featured Image Via Instagram/toonaerts