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UCI gives Denise Betsema green light to race after six-month suspension

Fellow 'cross pros express dismay and disappointment

The cyclocross world was shocked by an announcement from the UCI on Monday stating that Denise Betsema, elite Dutch rider, would be allowed to return to racing with immediate effect after having served a six-month suspension for doping.

Betsema had an adverse analytical finding for anabolic steroids from a sample collected at the Hoogerheide World Cup race January 27, 2019, where she placed seventh, and at the Superprestige round on February 16. Betsema won the Koksijde round of the World Cup that season.

According to the UCI statement Betsema served a six-month suspension from April 5 to October 4, 2019, cyclocross’s racing off season. Her Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal team didn’t sack her after the positives and suspension, so Betsema will start Saturday in Kasteelcross Zonnebeke in Belgium.

She didn’t seem to lose UCI points either.

Frustrated, angry reactions from fellow pros–especially North Americans and Brits–came swiftly. Some weren’t pulling any punches. Caution: expletives ahead.

Betsema’s team has claimed that she will hold a press conference Tuesday to address the matter.

Dutch cyclocross has moved on without Betsema. The 2019-2020 season has been dominated by Dutch riders. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado leads the World Cup, Superprestige and DVV Trofee series, with Annemarie Worst and Yara Kastelijn her closest competitors. Twenty-year-old Inge van der Heijden has also had a breakout year.