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Lizzy Banks cleared of doping but will quit pro cycling

The British woman said her life was torn apart for nothing

Lizzy Banks cleared of doping but will quit pro cycling Photo by: @Team TTT

On Tuesday, Lizzy Banks announced she will retire from professional cycling after enduring a 10-month ordeal. She describes it as having “torn apart” her life. This follows being cleared of any fault or negligence and facing no sanctions for a positive doping test.

The 33-year-old cyclist, who has represented Great Britain at the world championships and was riding for the WorldTour team EF Education-Tibco-SVB when she was notified of the test result last July. In a blog post, she revealed that the situation has cost her approximately £40,000.

Decision reversed by UKAD

In a decision made in April, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) concluded that Banks bore “no fault or negligence” for the presence of chlortalidone and formoterol. Banks said this is the first instance where an athlete was exonerated without having to pinpoint the exact source of contamination.

“This process has cost me a huge amount, literally and metaphorically. My husband and I spent every penny of our savings and the huge mental toll has left deep scars. Prior to being completely cleared of any wrongdoing, I was repeatedly told by UKAD and lawyers that I would receive a two-year ban,” her post read. “This simply didn’t make sense. No party thought I had ‘consumed’ chlortalidone with any intent. Yet that’s how the system works and my life continued to be torn apart for nothing.”

The issue of source of contamination

She continued that is hard to overstate the significance of UKAD’s finding of “no fault or negligence.” This is the first time Ukad has issued such a finding with zero sanction when the exact source of contamination wasn’t identified.”

Banks added this decision is not a recent one.

“I knew already that professional cycling was over for me. Even if I wanted to go back, I didn’t think I ever could. Because of how damaging this has been and the way it has destroyed my husband and me,” she concluded. “I could not risk putting us both through anything like this again.”

UKAD responds

A statement from UKAD was also released. “UKAD confirms that Ms Banks has committed anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs). And that the applicable period of ineligibility has been eliminated on the basis that Ms Banks bore no fault or negligence for those ADRVs,” it read.

Banks turned pro in 2018 with UHC. In her career, some of her results include two stages of the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile. As well as a second in a stage of the Tour de Feminin as well as 6th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.