Stefano Agostini has blamed his positive test for Clostebol on a topical cream used to treat a rash and has said that he will not ask for his B sample to be analysed. He also confirmed that he has been fired by the Cannondale team.
The Italian tested positive for Clostebol, a synthetic androgenic steroid and a derivative of the hormone testosterone, in an out-of-competition control carried out on August 21. Agostini was suspended by his Cannondale team at the beginning of September and the UCI announced the positive test on Friday morning.
“I committed an act of carelessness, in good faith, and I’m paying dearly for it,” Agostini told Tuttobici. “When I got back from the Tour of Utah, I was suffering from a rash on my left buttock and that night I couldn’t stand the itching anymore. I asked for help from my mother, who suggested to me that I use a cream that she had used a while back for a similar problem.
“So I applied some Trofodermin, an over-the-counter product and something I never imagined would have contained a banned active ingredient. If it wasn’t a medicinal product available without prescription, my mother would never have given it to me… It was three o’clock in the morning. I didn’t read the ingredients and after spreading the cream, I went back to sleep. It didn’t even heal the rash…”
Agostini said that he declared his use of Trofodermin when he was subjected to the out-of-competition control some days later.“After the test, as usual, I informed the team,” he said. “[Team doctor] Roberto Corsetti immediately told me that the cream contained Clostebol and that I would test positive. The team rightly fired me for breaking the strict internal rules and today my stupidity has been made public by the UCI’s communiqué.”
On September 3, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Agostini had been suspended by Cannondale for breaking the team’s internal rules although the squad made no public comment at that time on the nature of the infraction.
Clostebol use falls under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s strict liability rule, and Agostini faces the possibility of a two-year ban for his positive test. The 24-year-old second-year professional has indicated that he will not ask for his B sample to be tested.
“Unfortunately, I can’t do much beyond showing that I behaved in good faith,” Agostini said. “Obviously, I won’t seek the counter-analysis because I know that Clostebol was in my urine and I’ve explained to you how it got there.”
Cannondale confirms that Agostini has been sacked
On Friday afternoon, Cannondale confirmed that it has parted company with Agostini, revealing that his contract with the Brixia Sport holding company had already been rescinded on August 23, two days after the out-of-competition test and before its result was known.
“Such heinous conduct, which was in multiple violation of the anti-doping rules and the precise instructions of the medical staff in pre-season meetings, has led to the immediate dissolution of his contract,” read a statement from Cannondale Pro Cycling.
Cannondale general manager Roberto Amadio was in charge of the then-Liquigas team when it left the AIGCP in order to sign Ivan Basso in 2008, but he was firm in his condemnation of Agostini’s actions.
“The explanation given by the athlete constitutes a serious case of carelessness that we believe is inadmissible for a professional,” Amadio said. “Our policy on anti-doping is as clear as it is inflexible. Violating it, even through negligence, is a serious act that must be sanctioned firmly.”