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Bastianelli's Olympics campaign in jeopardy

Marta Bastianelli (Italy)

Marta Bastianelli (Italy) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

World champion records non-negative anti-doping test

Current Women's Road World Champion Marta Bastianelli has returned a non-negative test result for a banned substance. The 21 year-old has tested positive for the dietary aid flenfluramine, during a routine doping control at the European championships held in Italy in June.

The Italian cycling federation's Renato Di Rocco was astounded by the news. Di Rocco voiced concern for the athlete's health following the non-negative sample. "She has been incredibly naive," Di Rocco told Sporza. "Marta is really obsessed with her weight. She eats only salads.

If a test of Bastianelli's B-sample upholds the results of her first sample, the rider could be axed from Italy's Olympic Games roster. The Olympic Games commence in Beijing, China in just 10 days time.

"We will now also test the B-sample," he added. "If that is also positive then Marta has a problem. Not only in regard to her participation at the Olympic Games but also her image and that of cycling."

Bastianelli's mother, Mirella, defended her saying the cyclist was incredibly careful that any medication she consumed complied with World Anti-Doping Agency rules. "My daughter only took a medicine for losing weight, Benfluorex, with the agreement of her doctor; she made sure that it wasn't a banned substance, it had a pineapple base," Mirella Bastianelli told AFP.

"Marta was so careful that recently she refused an anesthetic at the dentist for fear that it might contain a banned substance," she added.

Bastianelli claimed the World Road Championship last September in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2004 she was second in the Junior World Championships road race in Verona, Italy.

Bastianelli is not the first female world champion to suffer from weight issues. In 1994 Dutch cyclist Leontien van Moorsel dropped out of the sport suffering from anorexia nervosa. She returned to the sport in 1998, winning the time trial and finished second in the road race at the World Championships that year.

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