Yesterday, the UCI announced a 6-month retroactive suspension for Denise Betsema after she tested positive for steroids last winter. Following the announcement, Betsema and her Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal team said they would hold a press conference on Tuesday to make their statement about her positive test and suspension.

At that press conference Tuesday, Betsema said the positive test was the result of a contaminated supplement she obtained from a pharmacy in Belgium.

According to Sporza, “The deviating values appear to have to do with a food supplement in which contamination had occurred. Betsema had obtained an authorized product from a pharmacy in Belgium, but it turned out to contain contaminated substances (DAE pollution of 0.37%).”

Betsema’s sanction from the UCI includes the 6-month suspension that ran from April 5, 2019 t,o October 4, 2019, and the deletion of all her results following the 2019 Hoogerheide World Cup where she tested positive.

“According to the system, athletes always remain responsible for what enters their bodies, but I have never consciously taken doping,” Betsema said (translated). “The UCI also confirms that research has been established But whether you can do something about it or not: you get a punishment. In this case, that means a suspension of 6 months.”

With her suspension over, Betsema plans to return to racing this Saturday at Zonnebeke. She led the UCI rankings earlier this season and was ranked 24th in the Tuesday, January 21 rankings, but with her results vacated during her suspension, she will not be in the top 50 and thus eligible for Sunday’s World Cup Hoogerheide.

Betsema’s team kept her on their roster and were supportive of her after today’s press conference.