Cyclist Robert Stannard has received a four-year ban. INSTAGRAM @robert_stannard

Australian cyclist Robert Stannard has received a four-year ban following the discovery of irregularities in his Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).

The UCI, cycling's governing body, has retroactively applied the 25-year-old cyclist's suspension to 17 August, 2018, the date of the initial abnormality discovery. This decision factors in the delay in communication of the rider's abnormalities to the UCI.

Stannard has also been penalised with a fine amounting to 70% of his salary for the years 2018 and 2019. An Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) serves as an electronic record for professional athletes, monitoring biomarkers throughout their careers. 

Significant changes in these markers can raise suspicions of doping among officials. Currently not affiliated with a team, Stannard retains the option to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Previously, he rode for the World Tour team Alpecin-Deceuninck, which boasts world champion Mathieu van der Poel and top sprinter Jasper Philipsen among its ranks, as recently as last year.

Australian cyclist Robert Stannard has received a four-year ban, the UCI have confirmed. GETTY IMAGES
Australian cyclist Robert Stannard has received a four-year ban, the UCI have confirmed. GETTY IMAGES

"The Tribunal found that Robert Stannard committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) of use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method due to unexplained abnormalities in his Biological Passport in 2018 and 2019," a UCI press release stated. "As a consequence, the Tribunal has imposed a four-year period of suspension on the rider as well as a monetary fine corresponding to 70% of his average annual salary in 2018 and 2019."

In 2018, Stannard competed with the Mitchelton-Scott Continental team before transitioning as a trainee to the WorldTour team. During this time, he secured victories in various races, including a stage at the under-23 Giro d'Italia and the under-23 Il Piccolo Lombardia. 

For the 2019 season, Stannard signed with the Mitchelton-Scott WorldTour team and remained with them until 2021, after which he joined Alpecin-Deceuninck. Reports of his doping case surfaced last August.

"I have never intentionally or knowingly used a prohibited substance and will therefore ask for my case to be referred to the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal," Stannard said following the verdict. "I look forward to filing my defence and am confident of being exonerated and continuing my career."