Stewart given two-year ban for doping test result

The result of a previously announced adverse analytical finding for mountain biker Brandon Stewart was confirmed at a hearing by an Independent Tribunal, and he received a two-year ban from all sport. The South African had been found to have the anabolic agent testosterone in his urine sample taken during an out of competition test on July 7, 2013.

The Independent Tribunal hearing occurred on July 24, 2014, although Stewart's ban is considered effective from March 27, 2014 to March 26, 2016. He has the right to appeal the decision.

Stewart took two injections of a testosterone booster, administered by his doctor between February and April of 2013 for treatment of mood swings and depression. Although Stewart had contacted the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) to request a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) so he could continue to race while receiving treatment, his application was denied.

Stewart had reported that SAIDS told him that he could compete while his application was processed, but in April of 2013 he was notified that his TUE application was denied because his testosterone levels were not enough below normal to justify the treatment. It was suggested that he have further tests from an endocrinologist approved by SAIDS and that he could continue racing in the meantime. Stewart halted treatment and was then informed that his second application, based on the endocrinologist's reports, had also been denied.

The positive out of competition test occurred two days before being told that his second TUE appeal was unsuccessful and three months after having stopped treatment.

Stewart was notified of his positive test in October and appealed it in January. SAIDS denied his appeal in March. The case then went on to the Court of Arbitration in Switzerland where he was formally charged with doping.

Cycling South Africa issued the statement: "Cycling South Africa respects the independence of the SAIDS process and respects the outcome. Cycling SA further reiterates its zero-tolerance approach to doping in sport and will continue working with SAIDS in the promotion of a drug-free sport via its awareness programmes and extensive testing."

Stewart has previously won the Best African jersey at the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, and he is a former South African national champion.

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