WADA VERSUS CADE CLASON: THE FAILED DRUG TEST

Click on images to enlarge

Although the news has been bouncing around for a few days, MXA wanted to wait to hear Cade Clason’s side of the story after the FIM announced that Cade had been provisionally suspended from all competitions for violating the FIM Anti-doping code. Clason is currently racing the CMRC Canadian Nationals, where he is 8th in the 450 standings, but his failed test was conducted by WADA at the New York Supercross on April 29. Clason’s sample tested positive for an “adverse analytical finding of amphetamine.” Jason Anderson, Blake Baggett, Justin Barcia, Ryan Dungey, Davi Millsaps, Marvin Musquin, Malcolm Stewart, Eli Tomac, Jake Weimer and Cade Clason were all tested by WADA at that race—everybody passed, save for Clason.

Cade Clason admits that he was taking Adderall, but that he had filed the paperwork to get a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) from the FIM, but that he never heard back from them. This could be a clerical error, but Clason would have to appeal to get it cleared up. Otherwise, he could request that the B-sample be tested (although since he says he took Adderall that would prove fruitless). All of this is long distance since both WADA, the FIM and the appeals process take place in Europe. It can be handled by email. Even then, paperwork errors aren’t always good enough excuses. Cade can file a request for legal aid to seek the assistance of a pro bono counsel in dealing with the FIM and CAS.

CADE CLASON’S INSTAGRAM POST

Let’s not waste time arguing the merits of international drug testing. It is a reality of modern sports. It doesn’t matter whether a rider is first place or 18th place, taking a prohibited substance is against the rules (and, when the second place and the 19th place guys follow the rules, they have been cheated). Don’t bother debating the merits or lack of merits of Adderall — it is on the list and the prohibited list is readily available to the riders, along with people to consult with about the list. Adderall has been and is still being used by athletes in all sports to improve their performance. As for a TUE for Adderall, doctors will prescribe it to anyone who tells them the right story. Yes, there are newer, more potent and less easily discovered performance enhancing drugs in the sports world, but that doesn’t mean that taking an easily found drug is any less of a violation. Urine testing is the lowest level of WADA discovery, but Adderall doesn’t require a blood test to be found. Drug testing in the sport of motocross is rudimentary, spotty and easy to evade. But, it’s a required benchmark that all high-profile sports must take, or at least pretend to take, if they want to be taken seriously.

THE OFFICIAL FIM PRESS RELEASE

“The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has advised US Supercross rider Cade Clason that he is provisionally suspended pursuant to Article 7.9 of the FIM Anti-doping Code. The decision to provisionally suspend Mr Clason was mandatory following the receipt of a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of Amphetamine, a non-specified substance under Section 6 (Stimulants) of the 2017 FIM Prohibited List, in a urine sample collected from him at an in-competition test carried out by the FIM at the round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship held in East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA, on 29 April 2017. Mr Clason has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample. Mr Cade Clason is provisionally suspended with effect from 21 June 2017. He is therefore barred from participating in any Sports competition until further notice (Art. 10.12 of the FIM Anti-doping Code). Under Article 7.9.3.2 of the FIM Anti-doping Code, Mr. Clason may request lifting of his provisional suspension. Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the FIM Anti-Doping Code, the FIM is unable to provide any additional information at this time.”

A BRIEF HISTORY OF DOPING VIOLATIONS

James Stewart filed for an got a TUE after he was busted—but that didn’t mitigate his ban from racing.

The FIM and WADA take a dim view of riders who keep racing when they are provisionally suspended—even if their race organization isn’t a WADA signee. Sometimes promoters want to keep a star rider on the track, under the guise that they don’t recognize WADA findings. But, when the FIM and WADA consider that rider’s case, they take into account whether a rider took their actions seriously (ie. barred from participating in any Sports competition until further notice) — and the penalty could be worsened. The Canadian CMRC sanctioning body isn’t a WADA signatory. But, as you will read below, penalties can vary from a suspended 3-month ban to four years or more, based in a large part of the rider’s contrition.

Motocross is a fairly clean sport, by the official numbers, but drug testing has been spotty across the history of the sport. And if you rarely test, you also rarely catch anyone. There have been several high-profiles cases of riders being banned over the last 16 years. Here are some examples.

(1) In 1997 Australian 500cc road racer Anthony Gobert failed a drug test while racing for the Lucky Strike Suzuki team in the World Championships. Gobert was was fired from the Suzuki team. He got a Ducati ride for 1998, but failed another drug test and was fired again. His racing career never recovered and, as he moved from team to team, his drug and drinking issues followed him.

(2) In 2001 Gert-Jan Van Doorn was suspended from racing for 18 months, while Andrea Bartolini got a 6-month ban. Both rider’s were fined, lost points and had to pay the FIM hearing costs. Bartolini’s sample contained nandrolone (anabolic steroid), while Van Doorn’s contains amfepramone (a derivative of amphetamine).

(3) Claudio Federici who was second in the 1999 125 World Championships, failed a drug test for a metabolite of cocaine in 2002 and was suspended for 6-months.

(4) Josh Coppins tested six times over the limit for the stimulant pseudo-ephedrine, which he said he got from taking an over-the-counter hay fever tablet. Since ephedrine typically carries a 3-month ban, Coppins was given a 3-month ban, but it was suspended. But, he lost the points he earned at the race where he failed the test.

(5) Road racer Noriyuki Haga tested positive for Ephedrine in 2000 and received a one-month ban and had his points deducted. Haga lost 25 points during his ban and lost the WSBC to Colin Edwards.

(6) In November of 2013, MotoGP road racer Anthony West failed for methylhexaneamine (which he said he got from an energy drink). Originally, he got a one month ban from the FIM, but WADA appealed the decision and West was given an 18-month ban.

(7) In 2013, World Sidecar Cross competitor Lauris Daiders tested positive for the substance clenbuterol and got a 15-month ban, which was appealed by WADA and then increased to two-years. Plus, it was ruled that sidecar racers are considered a team and failure to pass a drug test by one, also applies to the other.

(8) James Stewart was suspended in 2014-15 for a positive test for “amphetamines,” which he claimed was Adderall. James didn’t file for a TUE until after he failed the test. That’s like appealing a speeding ticket because you slowed down as soon as you saw the flashing lights. He got a 16-month ban.

(9) Australia’s sports-governing body, Motorcycling Australia (MA), imposed a four-year ban on Jake Moss as a result of a positive drug test for Ostarine. Jake’s twin brother, Matt, was also provisionally suspended for anti-doping rule violation (Ostarine), but his case has not been adjudicated yet.

We can all hope for a fair and equitable conclusion to Cade Clason’s case. It is a cautionary tale.
Photos: Cade Clason Instagram, Mark Chilson

amacade clason provisionally suspendedcmrcgert jan van doornJAMES STEWARTjosh coppingmatt mossmotocross drug testingmxapostive drug testSUPERCROSStherapeutic Use ExemptionTUEwadaworld anti-doping agency