ex-cycling hopeful tested false positive for doping, he requests compensation

ex-cycling hopeful tested false positive for doping, he requests compensation
ex-cycling hopeful tested false positive for doping, he requests compensation
Published on 04/23/2024 at 5:05 p.m.

Written by Da Silva Nicolas

Great hope of French cycling, Gauthier Navarro, formerly at SCO Dijon, saw his career end prematurely after a positive doping test in 2021. Three years later, the rider finally won his case and saw his suspension lifted. He is now demanding financial compensation.

Since he was little, Gauthier Navarro has had a dream: to become a professional cyclist. In 2021, then a member of SCO Dijon, the 21-year-old young man had a string of good results. The president of the club sees his protégé as a future champion. But in January 2022, Gauthier’s world collapsed.

“I received an email from the French anti-doping agency (AFLD). In the subject line, it was marked: “provisional suspension”. I did not understand. When I click on the email, I see that I tested positive for EPO. JI tried to understand why and how I could defend myself. I never took anything, it could only be a mistake.”assures Gauthier Navarro.

EPO is a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells and increases the quantity of circulating hemoglobin. This leads to the improvement of cellular respiration.

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In 2021, Gauthier Navarro has a bright future.

© ALEXANDRE MARCHI / MAXPPP

Gauthier maintains his innocence, but SCO Dijon reluctantly has to fire him. The young man sees his dream disappear, and decides to return to live with his parents in Narbonne.

I lost everything, came home and tried to move on.

Gauthier Navarro

Former SCO Dijon cyclist

Gauthier still obtains an interview with the president of the AFLD. A new check is carried out, but the latter also turns out to be positive, “tout like five of six checks in the 15 months that followed. I no longer had a club, I had no interest in doping. It was thanks to these checks that we were able to say that it was not normal for me to appear positive.”

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In June 2023, the anti-doping agency lifts the suspension of Gauthier Navarro. His profile is declared as “atypical” and no “unnatural”. The end of a long ordeal for Gauthier.

“I was very moved. I was deprived of everything, I made financial sacrifices and it paid off. I wanted to be cleared, to show that I didn’t cheat. But I was also very frustrated, very angry. The email just told me that the suspension was lifted and that was it.”

They just took 15 months of my life and not a word of apology.

Despite this announcement, the 24-year-old young man is now determined that this matter will not end there. We are thinking with my lawyer. We must have mediation with the AFLD at the beginning of May. We will quantify the damage and losses. There are no charges filed at this time, but we’ll see how the mediation ends.”

Today, Gauthier Navarro still lives in the South. Besides his work, he races in Nationale 3 for the Béziers cycling club, in Hérault. “JI do this out of passion, but also out of revenge. I was arrested against my will, I run with the desire to give everything and this childhood dream of having a career. But I know it’s a utopia, I’ve wasted a lot of years. I’m already 24 and that’s old enough for cycling.”he admits.

In addition, this story has left its mark in the world of cycling. “I spoke with Nationale 1 teams (the first division before the professional world), contact stopped because of this story.”

Even if I am exonerated, this doping story will remain in people’s minds

For its part, the AFLD reacted in the columns of L’Équipe. “When an atypical situation arises, additional investigations are carried out to clarify the situation. In the case of Mr. Navarro, whose sample was declared abnormal in accordance with international standards, this is the conduct taken by the ‘AFLD.”

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