Shari Bossuyt’s hair analysis comes back clean but Flamanville is still the focus of the defence

The latest update in the Shari Bossuyt Letrozole positive case is that hair analysis has come back with no result for Letrozole. Hair analysis was used in the Toon Aerts case to prove that the concentration of Letrozole is small and doesn’t show a consistent use pattern. It’s an attempt to prove that the substance reached a rider’s system in a small dose and as a one-off rather than sustained use over a period of time. Yannick Prévost, manager of both Bossuyt and Aerts has doubled down on the Normandy milk and meat theory for now.

The hair analysis result became public late on the same day as Shari Bossuyt’s press conference. With no trace in her hair, it confirms that the 1.2 nanogram/ml level of concentration is indeed small and probably without any performance-enhancing effect. Even a level of 1.2 nanogram/ml isn’t allowed however due to the zero tolerance of Letrozole on the anti-doping controls.

Prévost has also called on Bossuyt’s Canyon SRAM teammates who raced in Normandy with her to also submit samples for hair analysis as the theory that local factors in Flamanville are to blame for the double positive. Those riders are: Neve Bradbury, Sarah Roy, Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka, Alice Towers and Alex Morrice. This would require the riders to provide written consent, the testing to be anonymous and also somehow paid for. It feels unlikely to happen as Prévost/Bossuyt will probably be hoping for a positive result to prove their theory and the teammates would therefore come under the spotlight themselves. Self-preservation therefore will no doubt kick in.

 “It is a hypothesis for now and we have yet to make it concrete, but we think we have a lead. We know that letrozole metabolite has been used in cow and sheep fertilisation since 2019 – there are scientific studies on that – and now we need to find out whether the technique is used in Normandy, where they both tested positive.”

Yannick Prévost

The theory of Letrozole being used in livestock farming though might not hold much water though. HLN got a response from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University that states Letrozole isn’t a registered medicine in Belgium and to the best of their knowledge, it isn’t in France either. So whilst a study exists where Letrozole might be used in cattle, it doesn’t appear to be used in practice. There are also holes in the Flamanville theory where Toon Aerts’ hair showed Letrozole traces could be found around 4 months before he raced there too. It feels unlikely that this line of enquiry will prove anything.

At the moment, it still appears most likely that Bossut will serve a suspension and if this line to prove non-intent is followed, it could see a similar punishment to Aerts of 2 years instead of the full 4 years. That however is speculation and will not be confirmed until the outcome of the French anti-doping investigation is concluded.

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