24 January 2019

Tosh Van der Sande cleared after UCI accepts nasal spray caused AAF

The Union Cyclise Internationale (UCI) has dropped an investigation into whether Tosh Van der Sande had committed an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), accepting that an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for low levels of prednisolone was caused by Sofrasolone, a nasal spray. The Prohibited List of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) outlines that prednisolone, a glucocorticoid, is only prohibited ‘when administered by oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal routes’.  

Van der Sande was provisionally suspended by the Lotto Soudal team on 19 December, after returning an AAF during the Six Days of Ghent track cycling race, 12-18 November 2018, which his Lotto Soudal team said he took part in on his own initiative. ‘The substance is a permitted one and occurs in the nasal spray Sofrasolone, that is freely available and allowed to be used in competition if mentioned during a control’, read a statement. 

“I’m very happy and relieved to be cleared by the UCI”, said the Belgian cyclist in a statement on Twitter (below). “Unfortunately, I was initially depicted as a cycling doper, when I only had to make a statement about how the particular substance was found in my urine. It was a mere administrative mistake.”

It is understood that although the levels of prednisolone in Van der Sande’s sample were low, the UCI launched an investigation as nothing on his Doping Control Form (DCF) could explain the finding. Van der Sande said that he had declared the wrong nasal spray, Mometasone, on the DCF. Mometasone doesn’t contain prednisolone, whereas Sofrasolone does.

‘My sample contained prednisolone, from the nasal spray Sofrasolone’, Van der Sande outlined in an earlier statement, reports Het Nieuwsblad. ‘This nasal spray is freely available, was delivered to me via the team doctor and is permitted within competition as stated on the Doping Control Form. I took this intranasally. In the hectic situation, “Mometasone Spray” was mentioned in error instead of “Sofrasolone”, which is used for the same medical intentions. It is therefore only a material error. In the past, I used the two nasal sprays alternately, always delivered via a team doctor.’

‘Tosh Van der Sande will be reintegrated in the team with immediate effect’, read a statement from the Lotto Soudal team. ‘As such, Lotto Soudal reconfirms its zero tolerance regarding doping-related matters’. The Sports Integrity Initiative has asked Van der Sande’s lawyer, Johnny Maeschalck of Van Landuyt & Partners, for comment.

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