Lizzie Armitstead has launched an impassioned self-defence in regards to her trio of missed drugs tests, having been cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Armitstead won a silver medal at London 2012, and has since gone on to become world road race champion and win Commonwealth gold. She is one of Britain's main medal hopes ahead of Rio 2016, where she will compete in the women's road race on 7 August.
Her participation in the Games came into question, however, when she was suspended by UK Anti-Doping pending disciplinary action after missing three drugs tests. She had 'whereabouts' failures in August and October 2015, as well as one this June.
Her suspension has since been unanimously overruled by CAS, after a legal team funded by British Cycling successfully argued that the first missed test should be struck off owing to a fault by the test official. Nonetheless, the trio of missed tests prompted a wave of criticism from pundits and commentators, with some contrasting her lenient treatment with that of Russian athletes in the aftermath of Russia's national doping scandal.
Now, Armitstead has hit back in a statement shared via her official Twitter page. She has suggested that there were mitigating family circumstances for one of the tests, while also pointing out that she has never actually tested positive for a banned substance.
Armitstead claims to "take responsibility of this message", which is apparently self-authored. She goes on to say that she "hates dopers and what they have done to sport," adding: "I love my sport, but I would never cheat for it."
Armitstead has also hit out at "sensationalised headlines" and the "Twitter army", after sustained criticism on social media. Having also received censure from several former athletes over her missed tests, she is likely to receive a mixed reception in Rio.