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Flückiger suspended after positive doping test for Zeranol

Mathias Flückiger (Thömus Maxon) wins in Leogang
Mathias Flückiger (Thömus Maxon) wins in Leogang (Image credit: Rob Jones)

Mountain bike specialist Mathias Flückiger (Thömus Maxon) has tested positive for a banned anabolic substance, Zeranol, in a test taken during the Swiss Cross Country Championships on June 5 in Leysin, where he won the national title. 

The Olympic Games silver medallist has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect, according to a press release from Swiss Cycling, and is currently under investigation by national anti-doping agency Swiss Sport Integrity.

Flückiger, 33, has not commented on the positive test and his B-sample is pending.

"On Thursday afternoon Swiss Cycling was informed by Swiss Sports Integrity that mountain bike specialist Mathias Flückiger had tested positive for Zeranol, a banned anabolic substance," according to the statement.

"The test was conducted on June 5, during the Swiss Cross Country Championships in Leysin, which Flückiger was competing with his professional team.

"This is a potential violation of the anti-doping code. Flückiger has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect in accordance with the doping statute of Swiss Olympic."

Zeranol is used to accelerate growth in livestock in North America and is listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list classified under 'Other Anabolic Agents'.

Swiss Cycling said it was informed of Flückiger's positive test on Thursday, one day ahead of his scheduled elite men's cross-country mountain bike event at the European Championships, won by Tom Pidcock.

In 2021, Flückiger secured the silver medal behind gold medallist Pidcock in the Tokyo Olympic Games cross-country mountain bike event. He was also second behind Nino Schurter at the World Championships, and was the number 1 ranked rider in the UCI Cross-Country Ranking and won the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup title.

This season, Flückiger won the national championships title and the Leogang round of the World Cup in June. He was also third in the Lenzerheide World Cup in July.

His positive test comes two weeks ahead of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships set to take place from August 24-28 in Les Gets, France.

Flückiger's team Thomas Maxon Swiss Mountain Bike Racing provided a statement reiterating that the rider has been provisionally suspended since receiving information about a positive A-sample, and that the team has a zero-tolerance policy.

"In the case of doping, zero tolerance applies in Team Thömus maxon Swiss Mountain Bike Racing. Team Thömus maxon wants clean and fair sport. It condemns doping with all determination. Together with Swiss Olympic, Swiss Cycling and Swiss Sport Integrity and the other partners involved, we will take the necessary steps to clarify the situation and then assess it further," the team said in its statement on Thursday.

"A decision on further cooperation with Mathias Flückiger will be made once the B sample is available."

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