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Trek ‘disappointed’ after learning of Katie Compton’s positive test

RIJKEVORSEL BELGIUM NOVEMBER 22 Katherine Compton of The United States and Team Kfc Racing PB TrekKnight Composites during the 9th Superprestige Merksplas 2020 Women Elite SuperprestigeCX SPMerksplas CX on November 22 2020 in Rijkevorsel Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Katie Compton at the Superprestige Merksplas 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Trek Bikes has expressed its disappointment after learning that its long-time sponsored cyclist Katie Compton tested positive for an anabolic agent following an out-of-competition test on September 16, 2020. 

Compton has accepted the four-year suspension handed to her by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The global bike brand has told Cyclingnews that it trusts the process was fair and respects the decision.

“We were made aware of Katie’s positive test and are disappointed by the news,” said Eric Bjorling, brand manager at Trek Bikes. “We trust the process was fair and respect USADA's decision and Katie's decision to retire. We wish her well with her future endeavors.”

USADA announced on Wednesday that Compton had tested positive for an anabolic agent after her urine sample from the out-of-competition test last September was analysed using a specialised test, known as Carbon Isotope Ratio testing. This testing differentiates between anabolic androgenic steroids naturally produced by the body and prohibited anabolic agents of external origin.

In its statement, USADA explained that all anabolic androgenic steroids are Non-Specified Substances in the class of Anabolic Agents and are prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policy, and the Union Cycliste Internationale Anti-Doping Rules – all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Compton’s four-year suspension began on September 16, 2020, the date her positive sample was collected. She has also been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to that date, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes, according to the USADA statement.

Compton's racing schedule was limited since the positive test, but she has been disqualified from four victories in three local races and the US Open of Cyclo-cross, as well as all of her European results and prizes from the 2020-2021 season.

The 42 year old had planned to retire after the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Arkansas, scheduled for January 29-30, 2022, and said she was incredibly sad to end her career this way. 

Compton has been a long-time sponsored athlete of the Trek Bikes brand. She has won the US national title in cyclo-cross a record 15 consecutive times during her career. She was the first American woman to podium in the Cyclo-cross World Championships in 2007 and during her career she amassed 23 World Cup wins and five medals at the Cyclo-cross World Championships.

In an official statement released on Wednesday Compton said that she has always been a clean athlete and that the news of her positive test was devastating because she said she has never intentionally or knowingly used a performance-enhancing substance.

She also stated that she had hired a lawyer to investigate how the substance got into her system, but was unsuccessful in finding the answer.

"Over the past six months, I learned that I cannot prove that I didn't intentionally take anything, and I can't afford to keep fighting knowing the outcome will be the same regardless," Compton said." Unfortunately, seeing that it was five months between the sample collection and the notification, trying to figure what allegedly got into my body proved to be impossible, and I have decided to stop fighting an expensive and difficult battle and accept the sanction."

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.