European-based American cyclo-cross racer Jonathan Page, a silver medalist in the 2007 World Cyclo-cross Championships, is a last-minute addition to the Elite Men's team racing this weekend's International Cycling Union (UCI) Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.
American governing racing body USA Cycling originally denied Page’s initial petition to the world championship team, citing his ineligible status stemming from an open anti-doping investigation at the time of the team’s selection on Jan. 14. But after those responsible for adjudicating the case cleared Page of any wrongdoing, it was announced today that Page would represent the U.S. in the Netherlands as a member of the Elite Men’s roster on Feb. 1.
“Following very thorough consideration throughout the process, and after soliciting valuable input from our selection committee, we determined that Jonathan deserved an opportunity to represent the United States at the world championships,” said USA Cycling director of athletics Pat McDonough.
Because Page didn’t meet any of the automatic selection criteria, he originally petitioned for inclusion on the team as a discretionary pick prior to USA Cycling’s published deadline of Dec. 9, 2008. However, at the time of the team’s selection, the UCI had declared Page ineligible to compete at the world championships due to a missed anti-doping control at the Koksijde World Cup race in Belgium on Nov. 29.
As a result, Page exercised his right to an expedited hearing with the American Arbitration Association (AAA)/North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). On Jan. 23, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that following a detailed hearing, and careful consideration and review of the evidence presented, the three-person AAA panel came to a unanimous decision that Page did not commit an anti-doping rule violation.
After the independent panel’s decision to clear him was issued, Page formally asked USA Cycling to reconsider his petition and add him to the team. As the only other athlete to petition for a roster spot that met USA Cycling’s discretionary selection criteria, Page was added to the roster following a Wednesday conference call with members of USA Cycling’s seven-person selection committee.
“Although there is no specific blueprint for this scenario, USA Cycling has conducted its due diligence with regards to Jonathan’s inclusion on the team,” added Steve Johnson, chief executive officer of USA Cycling. “USA Cycling will continue to adamantly support cycling’s fight against doping and respects the process that has been put in place to combat the unethical and unfair environment doping creates in sport. And although the facts of Jonathan’s case illustrate that extenuating conditions can exist, they should serve as a reminder to all athletes that it is their responsibility to know the rules and abide by them.”
To date, Page is the only American to medal in the elite men’s category throughout the 58-year history of the world championships, winning a silver medal in 2007. He joins automatic qualifiers Ryan Trebon and Jeremy Powers, as well as fellow discretionary selections Brian Matter and Matt Shriver, on the Elite Men’s squad.