Shari Bossuyt’s Olympic dreams in jeopardy amid doping allegations and uncertain future

Shari Bossuyt gives a press conference after doping positive

The cycling career of Belgian rider Shari Bossuyt remains in limbo nearly six months after her positive doping test for Letrozole, an incident which has cast a shadow over her Olympic aspirations for Paris 2024. The 23-year-old, who tested positive during the Tour de Normandie in March, has been placed on non-active status by her team, Canyon-Sram, due to their zero-tolerance policy on doping.

Bossuyt, expressing her confusion and frustration, told Sporza, “I have no idea how the product got into my body. Sometimes I curse that I won that stage in the Tour of Normandy. Otherwise, I would not have had to go to the doping control.” Her situation mirrors that of fellow Belgian cyclist Toon Aerts, who also tested positive for Letrozole metabolite and faced a two-year suspension despite maintaining his innocence.

With her professional cycling career currently paused, Bossuyt has had to find alternative employment, taking a part-time role in the marketing department of a truck garage doing social media. This situation underlines the financial and professional struggles athletes face when confronted with such doping allegations.

Regarding her chances of participating in the 2024 Paris Olympics, Bossuyt remains pessimistic. “No, I don’t believe in it,” she remarked, acknowledging the impact of her situation not only on herself but also on her Madison partner, Lotte Kopecky. “It was a heavy blow for me and Lotte. I have no guilt, but it is also a dream of hers that is pushed aside.”

Belgium’s national coach, Kenny De Ketele, commented on the uncertainty surrounding Bossuyt’s situation, stating, “As long as there is no official conviction of Shari, I will include her. I still hope that she can be there.” He expressed hope for a positive resolution, acknowledging the potential impact on the team’s chances at the Games.

Kopecky, who will likely compete in the omnium at the Paris Olympics, faces the prospect of partnering with a less-experienced teammate in the Madison. “The next six months will be very important to see whether it is feasible and whether it is worth the effort,” she said, recognising the diminishing likelihood of Bossuyt’s participation, yet not completely ruling it out.

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