Louis Bendixen, a Danish professional cyclist riding for the Norwegian Team Coop Pro Cycling Team, was hospitalized after anti-doping authorities displayed a blatant disregard for his health following the first stage of the 2018 Volta a Portugal cycling road race on August 2, 2018. Bendixen was severely dehydrated yet authorities detained him for 3 hours until he could provide a suitable urine sample.
Bendixen had just spent almost 6 hours racing 192 kilometers (120 miles) in extreme temperatures of 43 to 45 degrees Celsius (109 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit). On a day that witnessed multiple cyclists abandon the race after suffering from heat stroke, anti-doping authorities felt it was necessary delay Bendixen until he could deliver a urine sample. Bendixen was provided with water but denied food and medical treatment to help him recover from the physical demands of the stage.
It took 3 hours before anti-doping authorities released him. By that time, it was too late.
Sad to leave Portugal. Dehydrated I was stuck at the Antidoping control for 3hours with no food but water. After just being able to hand in my pee sample, my body completely shut down and collapsed. Spent the night in the hospital suffering from a heat stroke and kidney failure
— Louis Bendixen (@LouisBendixen) August 3, 2018
“Sad to leave Portugal. Dehydrated I was stuck at the Antidoping control for 3 hours with no food but water,” wrote Bendixen on Twitter. “After just being able to hand in my pee sample, my body completely shut down and collapsed. Spent the night in the hospital suffering from a heat stroke and kidney failure.”
Team Coop teammate Krister Hagen witnessed Bendixen as he struggled following the anti-doping control. Hagen observed a completely exhausted Bendixen pass out and faint multiple ties. Bendixen was rushed to a local hospital for medical treatment.
“He spit and fainted a few times when he returned after doping control, “Hagen told the Norwegian newspaper NRK. “He was taken to hospital, got intravenous and stayed in the intensive care unit during surveillance all night.”
Bendixen was hospital overnight and treated for dehydration and renal failure. He was released the next day. Hopefully, Bendixen will not suffer any long-term adverse effects from this incident.
Cycling event organizers and anti-doping authorities should be held fully accountable for anything they do that jeopardizes the well-being of participating athletes. Introducing needless health hazards in the name of anti-doping is unacceptable.
We will ask @VoltaPortugal to apply the #extremeweatherconditions protocol. The organizer is responsible of the #security and #health of the riders and can not let them ride in terribile conditions. All riders must have the same rights and treatment for the #EWP @UCI_cycling
— CPA Cycling (@cpacycling) August 3, 2018