Orica-GreenEdge's Daryl Impey cleared of charges after failing test for Probenecid in February

South African Daryl Impey is free to return to racing with Orica-GreenEdge after a doping positive for banned drug Probenecid that forced him to miss the Tour de France.

At a hearing yesterday in Johannesburg, a pharmacist took the blame for contaminating empty gelatine capsules that Impey bought.

“I’m thrilled to have been given the notification that I’m 100 per cent OK to race again and no sanction whatsoever will be applied,” Impey said. “I was confident in my defence and I’m thankful that I was given the chance clear my name beyond any type of doubt.

“It’s been a tough period to get through, but I’d like to thank my team for giving me the possibility to focus solely on getting this process done properly.”

Impey is set to return in the Canadian one-day races in Quebec and Montreal on September 12 and 14.

He became the first African to wear the Tour de France’s yellow jersey in 2013 but lost his chance to return on the eve of the 2014 race when South Africa released results of an earlier anti-doping test. He tested positive, both the A and B samples, for Probenecid after the national championships on February 6, 2014.

The diuretic may also be used as a masking agent. 1988 Tour de France winner, Spain’s Pedro Delgado returned a positive for Probenecid but was later cleared and kept his title.

Impey was cleared because he and his lawyers were able to show the positive was due to contaminated gelatine capsules he bought from a pharmacy in Durban in the country’s east. A report in The Star newspaper explained the pharmacist gave Probenecid to another customer and he had contaminated hands when he prepared Impey’s capsules. At the hearing, register receipts showed the times of the purchases.

Impey’s capsules were for bicarbonate of soda, to help against the effects of lactic acid in the national championships.

“It’s just utter, utter relief that justice has been done,” Impey told the newspaper. “Everything that has happened, all the bad publicity, all the mud that has been thrown at my name, it’s never going to be rectified, but I knew I hadn’t doped and would never dope.

“The amount of money I have lost is hard to quantify. It’s a huge loss of income. There have been massive repercussions for my family and me. My name has been dragged through the mud. We’ll think about things like what other action to take later. I want to get back to do my job.”

  • John Westwell

    Another ‘black and white’ situation that shows that – with regard to drug testing – there are often shades of grey. See also the latest news on Jonathan Tiernan-Locke and his negative blood test two days after the one which has led to his ban.