Visma | Lease a Bike rider suspended for contaminated medicine sees doping case resolved

After supporting Primoz Roglic to victory at the 2023 Giro d'Italia, Team Visma | Lease a Bike rider Michel Hessmann was suspended by the team after having tested positive for a diuretic in an out-of-competition test. It was a lengthy and at times confusing battle to understand what has happened exactly; but the German rider will be able to race once again in the space of one month as the case has been resolved.

"The NADA has now concluded that it is plausible that Hessmann took a contaminated medicine such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or naproxen," Visma shared in a press release this Friday afternoon. "Earlier, external experts came to that conclusion and the German judiciary dismissed the case back in January." Hessmann had argued that the positive test may have occurred due to the contamination of medicine and the German anti-doping agency has concluded that this possibility is plausible and that the presence of the substance may not have been purposeful.

Hessmann was suspended by the team following this discovery and has not raced since. The B-test had confirmed presence of the substance and then even jail time was on the table due to Germany's harsh rules against rule breaking. However the best possible case has emerged for Hessmann who managed to prove the likelihood of a contamination. Nevertheless, he still has to serve one more month of a four-month suspension.

"However, the NADA also believes that the risk of contaminated medication lies with the athlete and therefore proposed the lightest possible suspension of 4 months to Hessmann, with a retroactive effect of three months," the team explain. "That was accepted by the rider today. As a result, he is suspended for at least another month. After that, Michel Hessmann and the team will consider how to proceed."

It is not known whether Hessmann will continue with the Dutch team or not following this case. The 23-year old has a contract until the end of this season. In 2022, he was third in the overall classification of the Tour de l'Avenir (most commonly known as the under-23 Tour de France), only behind fellow pros Cian Uijtdebroeks and Johannes Staune-Mittet who are both currently teammates at Visma.

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