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July 19, 2021, 10:47 a.m. -  Andy1972

I've enjoyed listening/reading to Chris's thoughts on bikes since his editor days at Mountainbike International. But I thought his comments on Martin Maes' test results were way off the mark. To some extent this come down to differences in opinions, but some of what he said was factually incorrect. Martin was given antibiotics by the race doctor at the NZ Enduro for the infected cut, but the infection was not improving. So the Dr gave him something that reduces how quickly the body expels the antibiotics in the urine, so that they continue to act on the infection for longer. This is also classified as a masking agent by the UCI, as it can stop performance enhancing drugs being expelled in the urine. As I mentioned above, and as was well publicised at the time, it was race appointed Dr that prescribed this, not Martin or his team. The Dr was doing what he though was necessary to treat the injury in a multi-day race in a remote location. There is no performance gain for the substance taken to the best of my knowledge. The injury he sustained, although it "looked like a scratch" to Chris, was described as serious by those there at the race in subsequent interviews, e.g. Gehrig twins, Sven etc.  Martin himself was very upfront acknowledging that ignorance is no excuse, including in the EWS highlights show of one of the races later in the season. And he paid a very heavy price for that mistake after such an incredible start to that season. While Chris is entitled to have his personal take on whether failed tests should result in long-term ban, or the publication of identify of those that fail tests (I agree with this). I feel like Chris's comments on Martin's specific case, where he clearly did not have all the facts, were something that should have been pushed back in the interests of balance by AJ.

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