Friday 7 March 2008

Inadvertent Doping?

News feature, March 7, 2008

Neben, others sue Hammer Nutrition over contamination

Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Amber Neben
Photo ©: Team Flexpoint
(Click for larger image)

American cyclist Amber Neben, along with professional triathletes Rebekah Keat and Mike Vine, filed a lawsuit in a California district court last December against Hammer Nutrition, maker of Endurolytes. The lawsuit alleges that the product contained unlisted substances that caused all three plaintiffs to produce positive doping tests, and that further resulted in subsequent doping violations and sanctions.

Court documents obtained by Cyclingnews state that each plaintiff took multiple capsules of the product Endurolytes before competing in events in which each subsequently tested positive for 19-norandrosterone, a metabolite of the banned steroid norandrostenedione found in urine. Arguing for the plaintiffs is Howard Jacobs, well known for his work with Floyd Landis' case as well as other professional athletes involved with doping violations.

The lawsuit, which was initiated by Keat and her twin-sister Simone, states that Simone had the capsules in question independently tested by the WADA-accredited Doping Control Centre lab in Malaysia in June of 2006, all before retaining Jacobs. That lab reported to Keats that the capsules contained dehydroepiandrosterone and 4-androstenedione. Upon further examination, after repeated requests by Keat, the lab also found the samples were contaminated with norandrostenedione.

For the rest of the article, read today's here.

There have been a number of cases where cyclists have been punished for doping offences where it appears they may not have been at fault. For those of us using Hammer nutrition products it is disturbing to read that it may be possible for them to be contaminated. It will be interesting to see what the court determines here.


Judi said...

Ok, do you think they're lying? I use Hammer all the time, not the Endo capsules, but I use the gels and the elcrolyte stuff. If the capsules are found to be full of steroids, well, what's that say about the rest of Hammer's stuff? Maybe I should just stick to Cliff....

Sprocketboy said...

I have been a user of Hammer products for probably a decade and have always been very happy with them. I think they are very dedicated to their work and have tried to build a good relationship with their customers. There have been cases in the sporting world where products have contained ingredients not listed on the label but it is very rare. There is always a risk of contamination in the modern industrial world--look how many people die from e.coli infections each year--but it would seem to me that Hammer Nutrition is putting forward what sounds like a good defence. There is an unfortunate history of cyclists trying to explain away positive doping results but it is rarer for them to come clean. It would be a shame if Hammer's business was ruined by false claims but I guess this is for a court to determine. The Hammer gels are basically fruit puree or brown rice sugar and I cannot see that there would be any steroid risk. I think that Clif products are also very good. It is a much larger company than Hammer but this does not automatically equate to greater safety. I myself will not be worried by this case; one of my friends just sent me an article about how the municipal water in most American cities shows traces of prescription drugs, among other things.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the other teammates that used the same product from the same bottle that didn't test positive.