Mathias Fluckiger won gold at Tokyo 2020 but was forced to miss this year's European Championships due to his suspension. GETTY IMAGES

Mountain biker Mathias Fluckiger is cleared of all doping charges by the Swiss Sports Disciplinary Tribunal. The doping sample and the analysis results cannot be used, with proceedings suspended.  

During the hearing before the Disciplinary Chamber of Swiss Sport, Mathias Fluckiger's sample and the analysis result were declared unusable. For Swiss Sport Integrity, this decision is incomprehensible and wrong. Finally, Swiss Sports Integrity (SSI), the Swiss anti-doping authority (and not the Swiss sports disciplinary body, which made the decision), reported the acquittal.

During the hearing before the Disciplinary Chamber of Swiss Sport (DC), only the preliminary question of the usability of the urine sample of 5 June 2022 and the corresponding analysis result was decided. According to the decision of the CAS, Fluckiger is cleared of all allegations of anti-doping rule violations due to the presence of zeranol in his urine sample of 5 June 2022. At the moment, only the decision is available and the written reasons for the decision will be provided later. The considerations that led to this decision are not yet known.

Swiss Sport Integrity does not understand this decision and considers the legal and scientific arguments presented by the opposing party during the hearing to be incorrect. Furthermore, Swiss Sport Integrity notes that the time allowed for the preparation of the hearing was extremely short and that the right to be heard was thus violated. 

Swiss Sport Integrity is awaiting the written reasons for the decision and will decide after a thorough analysis whether to appeal the decision of the DC to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Disciplinary Committee's decision also means that Fluckiger should never have been suspended and the test results should never have been made public. The 2021 overall World Cup winner and 2020 Olympic silver medallist, and Nino Schurter's great rival, was provisionally suspended in error.

Fluckiger told the media through his spokesman that he was "very happy, but above all relieved". He now wants to concentrate on the World Cup race in Nove Mesto, his last chance to reach the Summer Games in Paris, but Flückiger's position has been clear since the autumn of 2022.

On 21 December 2022, the Swiss Sports Disciplinary Tribunal has lifted the suspension of Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Fluckiger after deciding to no longer consider one of his anti-doping tests as positive. On 18 August, the 33-year-old was informed that one of his samples taken on 5 June at the Swiss Cross Country Championships had tested positive for Zeranol.

Zeranol is an anabolic which promotes muscle growth and is approved for use in livestock in some countries. There was a minute amount found in the sample and as a result the 2021 Mountain Bike World Cup winner submitted an explanation to the Disciplinary Chamber saying that it should be considered atypical and not positive. The body subsequently decided to no longer consider the result as a positive sample so the suspension was lifted.

Fluckiger claimed that the amount detected in his sample was 0.3 nanograms per millilitre, a figure that is below the 5ng/mL threshold the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) requires for it to be regarded as an adverse analytical finding. WADA guidance is that a concentration of zeranol or its metabolites at less than 5ng/mL being found in a sample should be treated as an atypical finding, triggering a mandatory investigation.