Toon Aerts voluntarily ended his cycling season of 2022 after a doping test came out positive for Letrozole- A banned drug. The test was taken ten days before the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Arkansas, although his test came out positive, he was not immediately banned because Letrozole does not specifically require a provisional suspension.
Aerts finished in the overall 6th position but that title was stripped off, and even his team did not back him up as he was pleading for his innocence.
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Letrozole is a drug that is used to treat women that have breast cancer, but it can also be used by athletes for performance-enhancing attributes (Higher-Testosterone Levels). As you may have guessed, this drug is already on WADA’s prohibited substance list. Although these are “Specified Substances”, they can be used to some extent, the ban period for these substances is different than the anabolic steroids or EPO.
Anabolic Steroids are banned at all times, unlike the specified substances, they can never be used. If found guilty of usage, the required ban period for that is four years. In Toon Aerts’s case, he can get a reduced ban period if he proves his innocence. Normally for him, the ban period would be two years but it can also be reduced to one year or no ban at all if he proves “No Significant Fault or Negligence”.
This is not the first time a case like this happened. Italian Tennis Star Sara Errani also tested positive for Letrozole, although she claimed that her mom contaminated the family’s tortellini with the breast cancer drug, as a result, she got a two-month ban. Upon further investigation and results, her ban period was increased to ten months.
If Toon Aerts can really persuade the authorities of his innocence then he can jump back into his cycling season without any kind of problems. Let’s hope all goes well for the Belgian Athlete.
Featured Image Via Instagram/toonaerts