USADA suspends New Zealander Olivia Ray for two and a half years

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Olivia Ray, the winner of this year’s road race title in New Zealand, has been suspended by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for two and a half years for use and possession of several banned substances.

“After receiving information from a whistleblower in December 2021, USADA initiated an investigation which provided evidence implicating Ray, who was living and competing in the United States at the time, in anti-doping rule violations,” USADA said in a statement.

“When confronted with the evidence, Ray cooperated fully, despite being pressured not to, and admitted that she had been supplied with banned substances by fellow athlete, Jackson “Huntley”. Nash, and committed the following anti-doping rule violations in 2021:

  • Use of Prohibited Substances Human Growth Hormone (hGH), Clenbuterol and Oxandrolone
  • Possession of prohibited substances clenbuterol and oxandrolone

The 24-year-old entered road cycling as a professional in 2021, raced with Rally Cycling and was set to continue with the team as it changed its name to Human Powered Health and moved to the Women’s WorldTour in 2022 However, she was dropped from the roster at the start of the season. The only UCI-ranked race on its results list for the year was the New Zealand Road Championships in February, where it took victory on a modified course, with windswept races as the remnants of Cyclone Dovi passed through.

USADA said the 30-month period of ineligibility began on March 10, 2022, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. Ray admitted the violation and accepted the penalty, therefore qualified for a reduction of the four-year period and his suspension was also reduced for a further six months for providing substantial assistance in the case against Nash, with whom she had been in a relationship before. . Nash received a lifetime ban.

“Additionally, Ray’s competitive results from May 17, 2021, the date Nash lifted with Ray using hGH and/or other prohibited substances, were disqualified, including forfeiture of all medals, points and prizes,” USADA said. This period includes her victory at the Grant Park Criterium – where she won the richest one-day prize, $21,000, in North America for professional women at the time – and her road victory at the New York Championships. -Zealand.

“Cycling New Zealand fully supports USADA’s actions regarding the suspension issued against New Zealand cyclist Olivia Ray,” the organization said in a statement. “In line with USADA’s actions, Cycling New Zealand will investigate all races involving Ray in New Zealand beginning May 17, 2021.

“While reiterating its strict stance that doping has no place in the sport, Cycling New Zealand will continue to reach out to Ray to provide support during this difficult time for the rider.”

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