Thursday, September 30, 2010

Contador and two others Spanish riders test positive for banned substance

The International Union of Cyclists issued a statement today that Alberto Contador, Tour de France winner in 2010 and 2009, has tested positive for banned substances.

Pic left: Contador and Schleck battle it out in this year's TDF 

In their statement they confirmed that they had found an "adverse analytical finding for clenbuterol following the analysis of urine sample taken during an in competition test on 21st July 2010 on the second rest day of the Tour de France."

Also announced this morning by the UCI, Spanish riders David Garcia Da Peña and Ezequiel Mosquera also had "Adverse Analytical Findings (presence of Hydroxyethyl starch based on reports from the WADA accredited laboratory in Köln) in the urine samples collected from them at an in-competition test at the Vuelta a España on 16 September 2010."

Both athletes rode for the team Xacobeo Galicia in this year's Vuelta a España  with Mosquera coming in second overall, behind Vicente Niballi.

"Mr. David Garcia Da Peña and Ezequiel Mosquera have the right to request and attend the analyses of their B samples," continued the UCI statement.

Contador's result was reported by the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne to UCI and WADA simultaneously, and the concentration found by the laboratory was estimated at 50 picograms (or 0,000 000 000 05 grams per ml).

According to the UCI, this amount was very small, though a "B" test confirmed the first A" sample test results.

Pic: Contador on the Champs Elysees at this year's TDF 

Although it is true under UCI regulations that Contador is now banned from competition pending the outcome of the investigation, the media jumped all over the news and declared in bold titles that the Spaniard could "lose his Tour title," leading one to conclude perhaps that it is already a foregone conclusion.

But in a statement from the organization that runs the Tour de France, the Amaury Sports Organization, this morning they said they were not so quick to jump to the same conclusion:  "The UCI indicates that this requires complementary scientific investigations under the care of the World Antidoping Agency "before any conclusions can be drawn."

They went on to say that the "directors of the Tour de France thus awaits the results of the complementary analyses and the definitive decision of the UCI."

It is no joke for a rider to be tested positively for any substance.  But the UCI's conclusion that the amount was so small in concentration, any further analysis will take some time they said, and did not want to draw any conclusions before the investigation is completed.

The other two Spaniards with positive test results announced this morning don't have the same high profile as three time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

But the 34-year-old Mosquera (pictured left) recently signed a contract with the Vacansoleil team after his second place finish at the Vuelta.

Garcia (pictured right), finished eleventh overall in the Vuelta, and took top ten placings on the stages to Peña Cabarga and Alto de Cotobello, according to Velonation.

Spaniard Oscar Sevilla also recently tested positive for Hydroxyethyl starch, a blood plasma volume expander that can be used to disguise the increase in hematocrit that occurs with the use of EPO.

The Xacobeo Galicia team has been looking for new financial backing for next season, with a deadline of October 1 to secure the necessary funding reported Velonation.

But with today's news, that effort will almost certainly come to a standstill.  If the test results are confirmed, Mosquera faces a two year ban and at the age of 35, and could be also be facing the end of his cycling career.

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