Twelve cyclists, including the race winner, tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO during last month’s Vuelta a Costa Rica (Tour of Costa Rica) 2017 edition, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) said on Wednesday.
The UCI confirmed Wednesday that the Costa Rica 2.2-category race, held from December18 to 27, 2017, saw 12 riders returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) in samples collected on 22 December 2017.
All 12 riders are Costa Rican. Juan Carlos Rojas Villalegas, Cesar Andres Rojas Villalegas, Jewinson Leandro Varela Zuniga, Vladimir Fernandez Torres, Jose Alexis Rodriquez Villalobos, Jason Huertas Araya, Jose Irias, Gabriel Eduardo Marin Sanchez, Melvin Mora Garita, Kevin Murillo Solano and Jordy Sandoval were notified of an AAF of CERA*. The rider Jeancarlo Padilla was notified of an AAF of EPO*.
The doping controls were carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, an independent body in charge of overseeing the sport’s anti-doping strategy, with the assistance of Costa Rican sports authority, the Instituto Costarricense del Deporte y la Recreacion (ICODER).
The UCI statement said, “These intelligence-led doping controls were planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body in charge of defining and implementing the anti-doping strategy in cycling, with the assistance of the Federacion Costarricense de Ciclismo, the Comisión Nacional Antidopaje de Costa Rica and the Instituto Costarricense del Deporte y la Recreacion.”
The Vuelta A Costa Rica part of the UCI America Tour, which is one of six UCI Continental Circuits sponsored by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the sport’s international governing body.
Juan Carlos Rojas Villalegas, who won the 10-stage event, was among those notified.
Eleven of the 12 riders implicated returned positive tests for the third-generation blood booster EPO-CERA, while the other provided a sample with EPO.
The UCI said the riders have the opportunity to request and attend the analysis of the B sample and in accordance with UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the riders have been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the matter.
(*) CERA and EPO are classified as “Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances and Mimetics” as per the World Anti-Doping Prohibited List