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Amateur time triallist fails drugs test after finishing 95th in 25-mile TT

Peter Stuart
10 Nov 2017

60-year old Stephen Costello tests positive, claiming his wife had 'spiked' his smoothie in an attempt to help him lose weight

After finishing in 95th position at the Stone Wheelers 25-mile Time Trial on the 20th May 2017, 60-year-old Stephen Costello tested positive for three separate banned substances in a random doping test resulting in a four-year ban from competition.

Costello had finished the 25-mile race narrowly under the hour, in 59:21, in 95th place, when doping control officers approached him for a urine sample.

The test showed the prescence of banned substances 1,3-Dimethylbutylamine ("1.3DMB"), Ostarine and both the sulfone and sulfoxide oxidation/metabolic products of GW1516.

After receiving notice of an adverse finding, Costello claimed that the substances were not intentinally ingested. Rather, he claimed his wife had prepared a smoothie for him in the lead-up to the event, and had added a number of supplements which contained the banned substances without informing her husband.

His wife gave extensive evidence to the tribunal.

In the full decision document, UKAD argued, ‘that the Tribunal should be wary of accepting the evidence of someone (Mrs Costello) who was admitting that she was a liar and had deceived her husband.’ They further argued that there was an 'inherent unlikeliness concerning her story.'

The story

In the official decision document (which can be found here), Costello was reported to have felt 'betrayal when his wife told him that she had been adding the supplements to his breakfast smoothies.'

They had allegedly discussed the supplements in the past and he had been vocal in believing that they did not work and 'were a waste of money.'

The alleged supplements were "GW Stamina", "Ostacize", "T9 Diet Aid" and "L- Carnitine".

'She had decided to add the supplements to Mr Costello’s smoothie, without informing him, roughly a week or so before he was tested,' the document claims.

This was because Costello had been complaining about being too heavy for hill climbs. She believed the supplements would help him lose weight and she could say 'I told you so'.  

The test result allegedly caused friction between the couple. Mrs Costello was allegedly in the car with Costello when UKAD informed him of his test result, but she remained quiet until later speaking with the couple's barrister Philip Clemo.

'She then was told by him to admit this all to her husband, which she did by phone,' the document states.

The supplements were subsequently thrown away after an argument between the couple. As the supplements were discarded, and there was no proof of purchase or replacement supplements, the tribunal was unable to verify if the supplements could possibly have contained the banned substances.

The tribunal noted that the supplements were not known to contain the banned substances, and it was argued that this specific batch was contaminated.

The decision

The tribunal, which found in favour of UKAD, took major issues with several elements of the Costello's testimony.

'Firstly, why would she go behind her husband’s back and decide to add supplements to his smoothie at all?' the tribunal decision document states.

It continues, 'Then secondly, if it was to “show him”, then why those supplements? She stated that the cocktail was for stamina, energy and muscle repair.

'She hadn’t lost any weight on them, yet he was moaning about his weight.'

It concluded, 'Ultimately, even after hearing both Mr and Mrs Costello, the Tribunal were not left feeling that this story was more likely true than not.'

Mr Costello was banned from all competition from 16 June 2017 until midnight on 15 June 2021.

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