Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) has accepted his four-month ban after testing positive for terbutaline and apologized for casting cycling in a 'negative light.'
Yates tested positive for the substance at Paris-Nice in March. He was prescribed medication for his long-term asthma but the drug – on WADA's banned list – was not declared in a therapeutic use exemption by the Orica-GreenEdge team. Terms of WADA's strict liability were applied and despite the team taking responsibility Yates was handed a four-month suspension. As a result he will miss the Tour de France this July but return to racing at the Tour of Poland later this summer.
"I would like to apologise to my colleagues for once again casting our sport in a negative light. I am very embarrassed and ashamed of this whole situation but I am determined to move forward thus will not be making any further comment publicly about the case," Yates said in a statement released on his behalf.
"The last few months have been very long and extremely painful, not only for me but for my family and friends. I received a notification from the UCI in mid-April that they had discovered the prohibited substance terbutaline in my control test sample from Paris-Nice. Unbeknown to me, this substance was in the medication prescribed to treat my asthma during the race, asthma being a condition I was diagnosed with as a child and have suffered with since then.
"Therefore I regrettably have to accept the punishment issued by the UCI. Even though I was not aware of taking any banned substance at the time of the test or until I was notified of the adverse analytical finding, ultimately the responsibility is on the athlete to know exactly what they are taking and what they are putting into their body."
Yates and Orica had hoped for both a shorter sanction and for the matter to be resolved in a speedy fashion. His team had included him in their provisional line-up for the Critérium du Dauphié but he was moved from the line-up even though the UCI had stated that he could race while the case was on-going.
Yates stated that the error from his team was an honest one.
"I have dedicated the last thirteen years of my life to the sport of cycling. I have worked incredibly hard in this period and am proud of all my success to date.
"Unfortunately as a result of an honest mistake of my team doctor, whom I trusted wholeheartedly, there will now be a doubt cast over my name, my previous results and any future glories."