Not good news.
So, let's start....
There is no easy or simple way to say what I'm about to say now, so let's get going. I wanted to do it already a few days ago, but I was asked by UCI we do it simultaneously.
Last year, end of July, I was notified from UCI, that my sample, taken on April 18, contained small quantities of prohibited substance Methlyhexanamine (MH).
MH is a stimulant and it is prohibited in competition.
I said "small", because, from what information I was able to obtain, my sample had 20x-40x smaller the concentration, comparing to samples from other athletes who also tested positive for MH.
At the time I had no idea what could've caused the positive test, but at the same time I was not trying to come up with some sort of conspiracy against me. Since it was in my urine, I voluntarily suspended myself immediately, meaning I also didn't ask to open B sample.
There are few reasons why I did that:
1) In any case, I couldn't had race, because at the time I was psychologically destroyed.
2) Because I tested positive for banned substance, I believed, I shouldn't be racing in first place until matter gets resolved.
Let's continue what followed:
After few talks with the UCI, I started researching every supplement I was using.
I have always used the same brands, except one. In January I started using a "meal replacement" powder. At that time I wasn't sure I was gonna race in 2018. Nevertheless I still checked the label for any banned ingredients, I checked on Aegis Shield, Examine.com, and a few other sites. It looked good, just some whole food proteins and carbs.
Why I bought a meal replacement supplement is whole another story, which WILL be addressed in future.
So since this was the only change I'd made, I dug deeper and found out, this very same company used to make a pre-workout, containing MH.
The problem was proving it, since I finished the tub in late April, didn't have LOT nr., or the original tub, there was no way proving it 100% that that was the cause of positive.
Over next month I made a case, with all the information possible needed to "convince” UCI, that the cause of positive was contaminated supplement.
I knew that suspension was inevitable, but my main goal was for UCI to accept that it was unintentional due to contaminated product.
And yes, they came back, accepting my beliefs. Now even though It was non intentional, it shouldn't be taken lightly, that's why they proposed 10 month suspension. Cycling is a sport where unfortunately, they'll smack you with higher, rather than minimum sanction.
I could've not accepted it and it would go forward to Antidoping tribunal, starting the whole process from scratch. Honestly, I just didn't have more energy or money to fight it, so I accepted it. There are still some things that are going on and could reduce my suspension, but I just don't want to wait anymore.
Is this the worst thing ever happened to me? Most of the people would say so, and yes, it's really bad. Especially in the sport of cycling no matter how small or big mistake, It has a big impact.
Looking from another perspective, I've had worse things happen.
In my career I was bullied, didn't fit in, because I didn't go out with people to get lit to near death, I was choked during the Tour by a teammate, I was told I'm zero, nobody, worthless, right after I signed a contract. I was also told, I was gonna be fired and they'll make sure I never ride again.
The irony, these consequences were never because I was fighting for myself, It was always trying to help others. More of this, some other time, maybe.
I'm not writing this to make you feel sorry for me, you shouldn't. Just facts, and It's up to you to decide what you wanna do with it. I'm not gonna curl up and hide in a cave feeling sorry for myself.
Times are tough and sometimes we all have very dark thoughts, but the only way to get over it, is, to deal with it. I'm not alone though. I've got my family and couple of friends, everyone else left me, but thats of too.
I've told it to my close friends already, because I believe I owe them this. For others, 90% of cycling world already knows, because people at the Federation and AD agency came out with the scoop right away. But I don't really blame them, it's all good.
At the end I'd like to stress that I fully take responsibility for this, the rules were broken and I have to pay. At the same time, I've learned a lot in these few months, the system is not perfect, it's being exploited a lot. It might be immoral, but it's legal, so it's ok.
I will say though I probably know the rules better that most of the cycling world. I always knew, what was new on the banned list, monitoring list etc...
When I told the doctor (few years ago) that the supplement we were given contained banned "octopamine", he said "ah it's just a small amount".
Took me a week to convince them to tell riders not to use that particular supplement.....There are good and bad doctors "UCI" said.....meanwhile, riders pay the price :) There are more things to come, whether you understand or hate me I don't blame you. Love you all Jani