Cyclocross

Denise Betsema returns to cyclocross after six-month ban

Dutch rider Denise Betsema is free to race after the UCI announced that her ban for testing positive for an anabolic agent is over.

Dutch cyclocross racer Denise Betsema is free to compete in the world’s biggest races less than a year after she tested positive for banned substances.

The news was announced Monday by the UCI, which revealed Betsema was issued a six-month band after she tested positive for an anabolic androgenic steroid last January. Betsema was provisionally suspended on April 5, 2019 after news circulated that she had tested positive at the World Cup in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands on January 27, 2019, and at the Superprestige round on February 16.

“The case was resolved by acceptance of consequences in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Regulations,” the statement said. “The resolution is subject to appeal by the National Anti-Doping Organization of the Netherlands and the World Anti-Doping Agency.”

Positive tests for anabolic agents often result in a four-year ban. The UCI did not reveal why the sanction was six months.

According to the UCI, Betsema’s period of ineligibility ended on October 4. According to a report from Belgian sports channel Sporza.be, Betsema plans to compete in Saturday’s Kasteelcross race.

Betsema’s positive test sent shockwaves through the international cyclocross community when it was announced last year. The Dutch rider made steady progress throughout the 2017 season and then shot to the top of the sport in 2018, winning multiple big races including a round of the UCI World Cup.

On her Instagram page, Betsema said she was happy with the news.

“Extremely happy and relieved with this good news,” Betsema wrote. “I’ll tell you more about this tomorrow!”