Irish cyclist Ciaran Kelly has been banned from competing for four years after being found guilty of a doping violation, The Irish Sports Council has confirmed.
In a joint statement Cycling Ireland and the Sports Council said that Kelly had tested positive for Clenbuterol in April 2014 and would serve his ban from the 27th of July 2015.
The maximum ban of four years was imposed on Kelly after the investigation found there to be ‘aggravating circumstances’. This was highlighted in the statement from the Cycling Ireland and the Sports Council.
“Aggravating circumstances are present in this case which justify the imposition of a period of ineligibility greater than the standard sanction of 2 years, and that the period of ineligibility otherwise applicable should be increased up to the maximum period of 4 years.”
The statement re-enforced that Kelly had been non-compliant in their investigation, adding to his lengthy suspension.
“Mr. Kelly failed to respect the provisional suspension imposed by Cycling Ireland, and have decided that he should not receive any credit for the period of provisional suspension against the four year period of ineligibility which is now imposed”.
The 27-year-old from Leixlip in Co.Kildare cycled with Sean Kelly’s team as a youth rider in 2006. He said that he has previously been a full time cyclist when he was younger but gave it up and then returned after a period of absence to cycle ‘just for fun.’
The amateur rider returned to cycling in early 2014 after being out of sport for a period. Kelly tested positive for Clenbuterol at an in-competition test at an event in Gorey, Co.Wexford on the 20th of April 2014.
The substance is known to be taken in an attempt to lose weight. Kelly admitted to losing 10kg prior to returning racing between September 2013 and December 2013 but denied taking the weight loss enhancer, blaming the positive test on contaminated meat.
The World Anti-Doping agency had previously warned of Clenbuterol contamination in meat from South America and Asia.
Kelly said that he bought meat from the same butcher for testing after seeing the high profile case of professional cyclist Alberto Contador. Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France after he had allegedly ate contaminated food. However, Kelly failed to provide a receipt for the meat.
Further tests found the meat to be of Irish origin and clear of any substances such as Clenbuterol. The investigating panel found this to be damaging to the reputation of the Irish beef industry.
The mandatory two year ban for a positive Clenbuterol test was doubled by the panel after they found that Kelly, “engaged in deceptive conduct”.
He has 21 days from the 27th of July to appeal the ban.