Swiss mountain bike star Mathias Flückiger has returned a positive doping test. The news arrived one week before 2022 world championships, and on the eve of European continental championships. Flückiger was immediately removed from the Swiss team at European champs and asked to leave the team hotel.
The 33-year-old’s positive test reportedly comes from post-race screening at Swiss XCO national championships back on June 5, according to Wielerflits.nl . The Swiss anti-doping agency informed the Thömus-Maxon rider of his positive result on Thursday afternoon.
Flückiger returned the positive test for the banned substance Zeranol. It is an anabolic steroid used in North America for farming, usually poultry, to promote animal growth.
The Swiss rider has not yet given a public response to the doping positive. His B sample has not yet been tested.
Flückiger had a stellar 2021 season, finishing second at the Olympics behind Tom Pidcock and second at world championships behind Nino Schurter. He also won the World Cup overall title. Flückiger’s 2022 season has been rockier. The rivalry with Nino Schurter boiled over into a late-race crash at home during Lenzerheide World Cup. The Swiss rider then withdrew from the two North American World Cup rounds after contracting COVID during the Andorra race weekend.
If Flückiger’s positive test is confirmed, it will be the first high-profile doping case in cross country mountain biking in recent years.