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65-year-old tandem time trial cyclist banned for two years over anti-doping violation

Having set a new record for the event, John Frey refused to be tested when a doping control officer arrived to collect a sample

A 65-year-old man from Alburquerque, New Mexico, has accepted a two-year ban from United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after refusing to provide a sample after breaking a record at a tandem time trial event.

John Frey competed at the Paula Higgins Memorial Time Trial, a USA Cycling sanctioned event, on 4 September 2023 when he and his tandem partner set what officials believed to be a new record in the event.

As part of the ratifying process, Frey was required to provide a sample to a doping control officer who arrived a short time later. The 65-year-old refused to be tested and is subject to a two-year period of ineligibility, the "default sanction" for recreational athletes who evade testing, or refuse or fail to provide a sample.

> Wake up to (anything but) milk: Pro cyclists warned not to eat or drink dairy products at cyclocross race after positive doping tests

Frey's sanction began on 20 November, the date he accepted the sanction, and his competitive results on and subsequent to 4 September 2023 have been disqualified, including the forfeiture of any medals, points, records and prizes.

USADA explained that either "evading sample collection or refusing or failing to provide a sample without compelling justification" would constitute an anti-doping violation under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policy, and the International Cycling Union Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

In 2021, a masters racer from California accepted a four-year suspension after he tested positive for 10 different prohibited substances, including Testosterone, Nandrolone, a number of growth hormones and Anastrozole, a hormone and metabolic modulator.

USADA said that Vahe Aivazian was caught through testing but also with the help of tip-offs from others in the sport. Information showed Aivazian had purchased products containing five different prohibited substances, before USADA received additional evidence in January and February 2021. Further investigations then uncovered a total of 10 substances that Aivazian either possessed, used or had attempted to use.

Closer to home we have seen doping in the older racing age categories too, disgraced British Masters 35-39 champion Andrew Hastings, who was at the time banned from all sport after testing positive for two different types of anabolic steroids, appeared on Channel 4's popular reality show SAS: Who Dares Wins.

And 2016 was a big year for amateur doping scandals, with national 12-hour time trial champion Robin Townsend, banned for four years after testing positive for the stimulant modafinil, claiming his positive was the result of his drink being spiked by a rival.

A year later and a concerning story came out of Italy with a 14-year-old cyclist believed to be the youngest rider ever to have failed an anti-doping control, the teenager testing positive for the powerful anabolic agent Mesterolone following a regional race.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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12 comments

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pgsery | 2 months ago
2 likes

John Frey rode the event bandit. He does not have a USAC license nor did he have a one-day event license and wasn't registered either. I also don't think there's a 40km 130 combined age tandem category. I imagine USAC could suspend him from getting a license but don't see how they can punish for a drug offense since he wasn't officially participating in the USAC event. It's weird.

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Miller | 2 months ago
0 likes

I read elsewhere that this guy is a long time amateur time triallist who has previously held the US 40km record. So, maybe he's fighting the effects of ageing... or maybe he's always been juiced.

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Beatnik69 | 2 months ago
0 likes

He was probably drugged up to the eyeballs on Sanatogen.

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Secret_squirrel | 2 months ago
1 like

What about the Stoker.  Does their result stand?

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wtjs replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 months ago
1 like

It would be ludicrous if it did!

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Backladder replied to wtjs | 2 months ago
0 likes
wtjs wrote:

It would be ludicrous if it did!

No more ludicrous than the UCI sock height limits!

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jaymack replied to Backladder | 2 months ago
0 likes

Now, now; the UCI is committed to cycling reducing its carbon footprint. Shorter socks are less carbon intensive in their manufacture and represent the cornerstone of the UCI's drive to become carbon neutral over the medium term. 

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SimoninSpalding replied to jaymack | 2 months ago
1 like

But longer socks are more aero, hence cycling is more efficient with long socks, so there must be cross over point where the increased embedded carbon from production is offset?

Of course even the UCI admit that the socks are at least in part an aesthetics issue, and therefore rank alongside the stupidity of mandating maximum coverage of female beach volleyball players.

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Backladder replied to jaymack | 2 months ago
0 likes

But they still cover the foot so the footprint looks the same, perhaps they should take an example from https://wiki.worldnakedbikeride.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

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chrisonabike replied to Backladder | 2 months ago
1 like
Backladder wrote:
wtjs wrote:

It would be ludicrous if it did!

No more ludicrous than the UCI sock height limits!

And that is why you don't see recumbents in these events - the early designs put the top of your socks outside the height limits!

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SimoninSpalding replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 months ago
1 like

I guess it's like a doping violation in an athletics relay race where the whole team is disqualified, but only the one with the violation gets a ban/ other non-team results removed.

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pgsery replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 months ago
2 likes

Stoker is a licensed USAC racer and passed the test. They were not registered for the event and there doesn't appear to be an official 40km 130 combined age male record to break. 

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