30th April 2018
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) today acknowledged the decision of Cycling Australia, the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Paralympic Committee to impose a four year ban on cyclist Michael Gallagher for the presence and use of a prohibited substance.
Mr Gallagher was tested twice out-of-competition in the lead up to the 2016 Paralympics as part of a testing plan to ensure the integrity of the Australian Paralympic team – once at the Adelaide Superdrome and the other at a training camp held in Italy in July 2016.
Both samples tested positive for the prohibited substance recombinant erythropoietin (rEPO). rEPO stimulates the production of red blood cells and improves an athlete’s aerobic capacity by increasing the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to muscles.
Side effects include thickening of the blood which can cause blood clotting (thrombosis) which can lead to heart attack and stroke. The use of rEPO can also lead to seizures.
After being advised of the positive test results, Mr Gallagher was handed a mandatory provisional suspension and did not compete at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. He showed full cooperation throughout ASADA’s investigation, providing significant insight into doping practices and motivations, which is of immense value to ASADA in its work to protect clean athletes in future. Mr Gallagher has also expressed strong remorse for his actions and their impact on his sport, friends and family.
His sanction was backdated to 19 July 2016, the date of his second sample collection, which is in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code. As a result, he is ineligible to participate, as an athlete or support person, in any sports that have adopted a World Anti-Doping Code compliant policy until 19 July 2020.