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USADA: Horner not at fault over missed test

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced on Monday afternoon that American Chris Horner had updated his whereabouts correctly, and that a missed drug test following his Vuelta a España win was due to a timing issue between the U.S. and Spain. It will not count as a missed test, and Horner is not accused of any wrongdoing.

On Monday morning, Spanish drug testers arrived at the RadioShack-Leopard team hotel but didn’t find the race’s overall winner, Horner. Instead, he stayed at his wife’s hotel nearby. The news that Horner wasn’t tested Monday morning, as intended by authorities, was leaked to the Spanish daily AS, and quickly made waves in an era of hefty cynicism when it comes to athletic performance.

“In response to public statements from Team RadioShack today concerning Chris Horner, USADA can confirm that we were coordinating an out-of-competition test with the Agencia Española de Protección de la Salud en el Deporte (AEA) while Mr. Horner was in Spain,” USADA said in a press release. “Mr. Horner properly updated his whereabouts information in advance of the test attempt, but given that the information was received in the U.S., the AEA doping control officer on the ground in Spain did not receive the updated information prior to arriving at the hotel.”

The mix-up does not count as a missed test for the 41-year-old Horner, the eldest grand tour winner of all time. USADA also scolded those who leaked the information: “… neither anti-doping organization provided information to the media regarding this situation. USADA has a strong collaborative relationship with AEA and thanks them for our on-going partnership in protecting the integrity of sport and the rights of clean athletes.”

Horner’s team quickly came to his defense.

“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,” the team said in a press release. “The team asks the media to report correctly on this matter, and will seek compensation for this matter with the responsible anti-doping agencies.”

According to World Anti-Doping Code, three instances of whereabouts violations in an 18-month period constitute an anti-doping violation: “Any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures within an eighteen-month period as determined by Anti-Doping Organizations with jurisdiction over the Athlete shall constitute an anti-doping rule violation”.

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