I think this is the first time that USADA has agreed with a rider that there were mitigating circumstances for missing a test, instead of banning a rider and having to be taken to arbitration.
Former U.S. national cyclocross champion Jonathan Page has been cleared of charges stemming from a missed in-competition doping test, but it may be a week before he knows whether that will result in his inclusion on the U.S. team for the upcoming world championships.
Page missed a post-race anti-doping test on November 29, 2008, at the UCI World Cup in Koksijde, Belgium. The American, who earned a silver medal at the 2007 world championships, had crashed out of the race and was nursing what turned out to be serious injuries. He was apparently unaware that his name was on a posted list of riders to be tested following the event.
Page reported that he learned of the missed test only several weeks after the fact. Failure to submit to in-competition testing can be treated as a doping violation at the same level of a positive laboratory analysis. Page requested and received expedited handling of the matter by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and a hearing was held in the case on Thursday.
The panel found that Page had ample reason to miss the test, particularly in light of the injuries he sustained in the crash.
“He had a head injury,” said Page’s attorney, Antonio Gallegos. “That’s the big thing. His doctor later diagnosed him with a concussion and he had suffered injuries to his chest and arms as well. Jonathan was seriously injured, which caused him to drop out of the race and it was clear that he had other, very reasonable priorities right then.”
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart agreed, saying the panel ruled Page’s injuries qualified as a compelling reason for him to miss the test and therefore concluded that no doping rule violation had occurred, completely clearing him of charges in the case.
I wonder what Sager’s take on the situation is.