March 13, 2008 (Orange County, California) – Mike Vine, a triathlete based in Victoria, BC, American cyclist, Amber Neben (Team Flexpoint) and Australian triathlete, Rebekah Keat filed a lawsuit in January, charging that a nutritional supplement by Hammer Nutrition, contained a banned substance, causing the athletes to fail doping controls.
Mike Vine claimed that being unfairly accused of doping is one of the worst things that can happen to an athlete and led to a two-year suspension from triathlon competitions. He also spoke about the unfair comments when he returned to the sport.
Keat claims to have unwillingly ingested the steroid precursor norandrostenedione according to the Australian Gold Coast daily. She further claims that laboratory tests of the product had revealed it was contaminated with norandrostenedione in an amount that was consistent with Keat’s positive drug test.
Neben won the 2003 Tour du Grand Montreal road race ahead of Canada’s Lyne Bessette, but it was later revealed that Neben tested positive for 19-norandrosterone at the race. Neben was eventually convicted of a doping offence and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which judged that the violation was not intentional, leading to a six-month provisional suspension.
Hammer Nutrition of Aurora, Ontario, referred Pedal to the Montana-based company head office for clarification of the situation. A company representative there directed us to a statement issued on the company website.
“The complaint alleged that a Hammer Nutrition product used by the athletes, specifically Endurolytes, was contaminated with banned substances which led to the athletes’ positive drug tests in 2002-2004. On February 11, 2008, the plaintiffs issued a press release. It is unfortunate that the plaintiffs have decided to take their case to the court of public opinion. We trust that the media and the public will allow due process and the courts to deal with this matter before rushing to judgment. While we empathize with the challenges that these three athletes face by virtue of their positive drug tests, they are directing the blame for their situation in the wrong direction. We are certain that when all of the facts are presented in a court of law, Hammer Nutrition LTD. will be vindicated of any wrong doing.”