Stian Angermund has tested positive for doping, after winning the Mont-Blanc OCC last year. The Norwegian trail runner revealed that today on his Instagram account. The French Anti-Doping Agency has found traces of chlorthalidone in his urine. Angermund says he is innocent: ‘I’m utterly bewildered. I haven’t used any medications or supplements, nor have I ever taken or misused drugs. Where could this possibly have come from?’
Chlorthalidone is a diuretic (water pill). As a medicine it is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and is used for fluid retention (edema) that is caused by congestive heart failure, severe liver disease (cirrhosis), kidney disease, or treatment with a hormone or steroid medicine.
In sports it is often used by athletes that want to lose weight quickly, like boxers and wrestlers that want to compete in a certain weight category. But it is also used by athletes that want to mask the administration of other doping agents – like steroids – by reducing their concentration in urine primarily because of an increase in urine volume. That’s why the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) banned diuretics in 1988; both in competition and out of competition.
As Angermund has tested positive, the Norwegian trail and mountain runner is suspended. ‘I won’t be competing in the summer of 2024, and there’s uncertainty around whether I’ll ever return to the world stage’, he says in his Instagram post. ‘The profound sadness and sorrow I feel in losing my career, reputation, and passion for sport cannot be overstated. This ordeal has already brought countless tears, sleepless nights, and is testing my self-esteem.’
It is now up to the World Mountain and Trail Running Champion of this 2023 to prove his innocence. So far he hasn’t managed, he told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview. The B-sample was also positive. Now he is looking into the sports nutrition he is using and he is considering a DNA analysis of the doping sample, to see if there hasn’t been a mix up with the urine samples.
Angermund has decided to make his positive test public himself, before the official authorities do it. What he fears most, is the social judgement, he admits in the same interview: ‘I have seen how others are treated. So I think that I will get a lot of negatives.’
Yet, most reactions of other runners are positive, looking at the reactions on his Instagram post:
Dakota Jones: ’You’re an inspiration Stian. I believe you are clean. So sorry you have to go through all of this.’
Sara Alonso: ‘Trust you, it has been an amazing year with you in Asics.’
Mathieu Blanchard: ‘Be strong, we’re sending you good vibes.’
Cyclist Michel Hessmann
Angermund’s case looks a lot like that of the German cyclist Michel Hessmann (Visma | Lease a Bike), who also tested positive on chlorthalidone. Hessman consulted Douwe de Boer, the Dutch doping expert, biochemicus and former technical and scientific director of the Portuguese World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Lissabon. After studying Hessmann’s case De Boer concluded that the positive test could be the result of using contaminated medicine, as different medicines are often produced on the same machine: ‘For example, there are known cases where minimal amounts of a diuretic have been found in paracetamol and other painkillers’, De Boer said in an interview with WielerFlits.
You can compare it with the warnings on food: this product may contain traces of nuts, which means there are no nuts in the food, but the food is made in a factory that handles nuts as well. If Angermund thinks he has used a contaminated medicine, it’s up to him to prove that, within the strict rules the WADA has set for proving your innocence.
Photo: UTMB YouTube channel