Marion Sicot faces a lengthy ban after the B-sample from her doping control at this year’s French Championships also tested positive for EPO. The French rider revealed the result of the counter-analysis in a post to social media, but she continues to maintain her innocence.
Sicot, who rides for Belgian squad Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport, returned a positive test for EPO on June 27 after finishing 10th in the French time trial championships. The 27-year-old withdrew from July’s La Course by Le Tour de France after being informed of the positive A-sample, though news of the case only reached the public domain when it was reported by L’Équipe in mid-September.
“Several weeks after a urine test, the results of the B-sample have confirmed the first analysis,” Sicot wrote on social media on Monday. “Despite these results, I am once again affirming my innocence, and I will put all my energy into proving that before the relevant authorities.”
Speaking to DirectVélo after news of her positive first emerged, Sicot claimed that women produced higher levels of EPO during menstruation.
That assertion was disputed by Michel Audran, former head of the anti-doping laboratory at Châtenay-Malabry. He told Le Monde that Sicot’s claim was “utterly fanciful,” noting that the test for EPO differentiates between endogenous EPO and exogenous EPO.
“It is necessary to remove many doubts and clarify some grey areas,” Sicot wrote on Monday. “I know that that the fight will be long and difficult, but I remain resolutely determined to take it all the way so as to defend my honour and the values I have carried for years.”
Sicot was trained by Julian Alaphilippe’s cousin and coach Franck Alaphilippe, though she said that they had stopped their collaboration earlier this year. Franck Alaphilippe, who is set to join Deceuninck-QuickStep’s coaching staff for the next two years, told L’Equipe that he had coached Sicot remotely using email and an online training platform. He added that Julian Alaphilippe had been “angry” when he heard about Sicot’s positive test.
On Monday, Sicot wrote that her future statements on the case would come via her legal team.