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Lizzy Banks quits cycling after ‘life torn apart for nothing’ in doping case
Cycling Sport

Lizzy Banks quits cycling after ‘life torn apart for nothing’ in doping case

Lizzy Banks has said she will end her professional cycling career after having her life “torn apart for nothing” in a 10-month case that concluded with her being found at “no fault or negligence” and without sanction for a positive doping test.

The 33-year-old, who has ridden for Great Britain at the world championships and was competing for the WorldTour team EF Education-Tibco-SVB when she was notified of the result last July, published a lengthy blog about an ordeal she says has cost her about £40,000.

Last month, UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) found that Banks held “no fault or negligence” for traces of chlortalidone and formoterol – a decision Banks called a “landmark case” as it was the first such ruling in a case where the athlete did not specifically identify the exact source of contamination.

Although her suspension will now be lifted, Banks – who trained as a doctor before turning professional as a cyclist – has said she will not return to the sport after the huge mental toll the case has taken on her. “This process has cost me a huge amount, literally and metaphorically,” Banks wrote. “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. 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.

“It is difficult to emphasise enough how significant Ukad’s finding is that I bore ‘no fault or negligence’. To put it in black and white, I understand that this is the first time that Ukad has ever issued a finding of ‘no fault or negligence’ (and therefore zero sanction) when the athlete has not specifically identified the exact source of the contamination.”

Banks said she had made her mind up before the resolution of the case that she would end her career.

“I knew already that professional cycling was over for me,” she said. “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. I could not risk putting us both through anything like this again.”

Ukad said: “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.

“Ukad also notes Ms Banks’ comments with concern and will be looking into what it can do to better support athletes going through anti-doping rule violation proceedings.”

Source: theguardian.com