News of Olympian cyclist and part-time cyclocrosser Bobby Lea’s doping violation rocked the cycling world in December. Lea, after USADA released the news of his positive and 16-month suspension, pledged to appeal, maintaining it was an honest mistake and forgetfulness.

On the night of August 7th, in a state of post-race exhaustion and having run out of my normal sleep aid, I made the poor choice to take my prescription Percocet hoping it would help me rest. This medication had been prescribed by a doctor to help me manage pain and sleep while traveling for competition, especially in the event of a crash. Because it was late at night, and I was trying to sleep, I failed to check my prescribed medication against the prohibited list, an action I have correctly executed hundreds of times over the years. –Bobby Lea on his blog

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has just ruled on the appeal, upholding the violation but reducing the suspension from 16 to 6 months, ending on March 10, 2016. Full USADA press release below:

US Cycling Athlete, Lea, Receives Appeal Decision From CAS Panel

Colorado Springs, Colo. (February 25, 2016) – USADA announced today that a three-member panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) based in Lausanne, Switzerland, rendered its decision in the appeal, filed by cyclist Bobby Lea, of an earlier American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitration award finding Lea committed an anti-doping rule violation.

The CAS Panel confirmed Lea’s anti-doping rule violation while shortening his period of ineligibility from 16 months to six months. The CAS Panel also upheld the start date for Lea’s period of ineligibility, confirming that his sanction should commence from September 10, 2015, the date on which he accepted his provisional suspension. As a consequence of the CAS Panel decision, Lea will be eligible to compete again on March 10, 2016. Further, as a result of the doping violation, Lea has also been disqualified from all competitive results achieved on August 8, 2015 at the Elite & Junior Track National Championships and on and subsequent to the date in which the provisional sanction was accepted, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

Lea, 32, of Topton, Penn., provided a urine sample on August 8, 2015, at the Elite & Junior Track National Championships competition held August 3-8, 2015, in Carson, Calif. His sample resulted in an Adverse Analytical Finding for noroxycodone, which is a metabolite of oxycodone. Oxycodone is listed as a specified prohibited substance in the class of narcotics on the World Anti‐Doping Agency (“WADA”) Prohibited List, which has been adopted by the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the rules of the International Cycling Union (UCI).

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (, conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.

USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.