The Australian Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has announced Australian Paralympic cyclist Michael Gallagher has been handed a mandatory provisional suspension by Cycling Australia and the Australian Paralympic Committee.
In a statement, ASADA disclosed the Scotland-born Gallagher, who won track gold medals at the Beijing and London Paralympics, was tested out-of-competition at a training camp in Italy in July and tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO). The Australian Anti-Doping Authority added in the statement that the test was coordinated by ASADA as part of a comprehensive pre-Rio anti-doping program to ensure the integrity of the Australian Paralympic team. The 37-year-old Gallagher has been ruled out of this month's Paralympics in Rio because of the provisional suspension.
The Paralympic track cyclist won gold in the individual pursuit LC1 class at Beijing 2008 and again in the C5 class four years ago in London.
In a statement, Cycling Australia said Cycling Australia CEO Nick Green was made aware of the adverse analytical finding by the Australian Anti-Doping Authority. Green added a positive test for erythropoietin (EPO) means that Gallagher will not compete at the Paralympics in Rio and further commented that Cycling Australia has been informed by the Australian Paralympic Committee that Gallagher has been removed from Australian Paralympic Team in Rio. The Cycling Australia CEO further remarked Cycling Australia has a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ of drugs in sport and fully supports the rigorous testing done by ASADA and the action taken by the Australian Paralympic Committee and also said Cycling Australia will not be making further comments at this time as ASADA has an ongoing investigation into this matter.
The Australian Paralympic Committee said it has taken immediate action to remove Michael Gallagher from the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team in Rio. In a statement, the APC said this follows Gallagher’s mandatory provisional suspension handed down by the APC and Cycling Australia today, after ASADA confirmed Gallagher has returned a positive doping sample.
Kate McLoughlin, Chef de Mission of the Australian Paralympic Team said Michael Gallagher’s position on the Australian Paralympic Cycling Team for Rio 2016 has been terminated, effectively immediately. McLoughlin added the APC fiercely supports the fight against doping in sport and this is a reminder to all athletes that they will be caught if they do not comply with the rules, regardless of intent.
The Australian Paralympic cyclist from Scotland has Erb's palsy in his right shoulder because of an accident at birth and moved to Australia as a five-year-old. The C5 classified track and road cyclist is affiliated with the Victorian Institute of Sport and is coached by Hilton Clarke Sennior. Gallagher cycles for Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club and his cycling is sponsored by Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), Bianchi, 2XU and CSM Cycles. Michael Gallagher won a gold medal in the Men's Individual Pursuit LC1 event at the 2008 Beijing Games, for which he received a Medal of the Order of Australia. He also won the gold medal in the Men's 4 km Individual Pursuit C4 by breaking the world record with a time of 4minutes and 24.057 seconds in the qualifying at the 2014 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico.