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Horner drug test confusion after Vuelta win; hotel mixup blamed

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Sep. 16, 2013
  • Updated Sep. 16, 2013 at 11:47 AM EDT

MADRID (VN) — It was the wrong kind of headache Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) expected to wake up to a day after making history with his Vuelta a España victory.

Horner, 41, found himself in the center of confusion over just where he was Monday morning the day after his historic Vuelta victory as the oldest rider to win a grand tour.

On Monday morning, Spanish anti-doping controllers arrived at the RadioShack hotel in central Madrid only to find Horner was not there.

Team officials, however, claimed Horner had notified U.S. Anti-Doping officials via the prescribed protocol the previous day to tell them he was changing hotels to stay with his wife in another nearby hotel. RadioShack released a copy of the e-mail Horner sent.

“Chris was in another hotel, but he mentioned this in his ADAMs form the day before,” RadioShack team spokesman Philippe Maertens told VeloNews. “He slept in Madrid, but in the hotel of his wife.”

Riders are required to notify anti-doping authorities of their location and be available for controls at any moment, including a testing window early each morning.

Team officials insist that Horner notified U.S. Anti-Doping officials before the start of Sunday’s final stage, indicating the hotel name and room number to be available for the prescribed control window of 6-7 a.m.

The anti-doping control was requested by USADA, and Spanish officials went to the team hotel without realizing that Horner had changed hotels.

The news was later leaked to the Spanish daily AS, and quickly made headlines across the Internet.

Under WADA rules, if an athlete misses three out-of-competition tests, it can result in a racing ban.

On Monday, RadioShack sent out a press statement to clarify the matter, under the headline: “Anti-Doping testers in the wrong.”

“The team believes the communication between the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency and the media is a violation of the privacy of Chris Horner, especially since it comes down to a clear mistake by the tester,” a press statement read. “The team asks the media to report correctly on this matter, and will seek compensation for this matter with the responsible anti-doping agencies.”

Horner was traveling back to the United States on Monday and was not available for comment.

FILED UNDER: News / Road / Vuelta a España TAGS: /

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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