Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport are reporting that current world champion Mark Cavendish missed at least one out of competition dope test during 2011. If a rider misses three out of competition tests in an 18-month period they qualify for sanctioning.
Today's print edition of the paper states that "multiple sources" have confirmed the story, suggesting it to be a bureaucratic error on the British sprinter's part rather than anything else. The paper suggests that the main problem has been the fact that Cavendish spent less time at his usual base in Tuscany in 2011 and more time back in England with his pregnant girlfriend, making his whereabouts less easy to pin down.
UCI President Pat McQuaid denied any knowledge of the alleged missed test. "I don't know if this is true," he told the newspaper. "If a rider jumps one or two checks I am not informed."
Cavendish enjoyed a spectacular 2011, winning the world championship in Copenhagen and the green jersey at the Tour De France. He also received two huge personal honours back home in his native Great Britain - an MBE for services to British cycling from The Queen and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. His big money transfer to Team Sky, where he will line-up alongside fellow British stars Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas, also made the headlines.
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