An interview with Lizzy Banks

Season 12, Episode 49,   May 22, 10:29 AM

For the past 10 months, Lizzy Banks has been fighting to clear her name after an anti-doping test taken in May 2023 returned an adverse analytical finding for two substances.

She was informed of the test result 79 days later. The two substances were formoterol, a medication she'd been using within the permitted level to treat asthma. The second, chlortalidone, was a diuretic she had never heard of. Unless she could prove contamination the twice Giro stage winner faced a two-year suspension.

Her investigation cost her career, her life savings and took a huge emotional toll on her and her family. When she could no longer afford full legal support, she investigated the case herself. Her medical training helped and the case she compiled led the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) to drop a scheduled tribunal and return a verdict of no fault, no negligence and no suspension.

Nevertheless, the rules state she has four anti-doping rule violations against her name, her career as a pro cyclist is over, and her reputation is harmed.

Lizzy has worked for The Cycling Podcast and so in the interests of transparency we asked Tom Cary, senior sports correspondent of The Telegraph, to conduct this independent interview. The episode is introduced by Rose Manley.

A warning, this podcast does contain references to suicide and suicidal thoughts.

A few abbreviations will come up, so just to give some clarity:

• WADA is the World Anti-Doping Agency

• UKAD is the UK Anti-Doping Agency, which is responsible for making sure that British athletes comply with the WADA code

• CAS is the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an independent institution involved in resolving legal disputes in the field of sport

• AAF is an Adverse Analytical Finding - commonly known as a positive doping test

• MRL stands for Minimum Reporting Limit. The concentration below which a substance will not trigger a positive test

• ADRV stands for Anti-Doping Rules Violation

Reference is also made to the cases of Shari Bossuyt and Toon Aerts. Both riders were given two year suspensions for testing positive for letrozole, which both claim is the result of food contamination.