One day after it was revealed he had tested positive a mere three days into his pro career with the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA team, the Spanish rider Alberto Gallego has insisted on his innocence in an open letter.
Sent to the BiciCiclismo website, Gallego rejects any suggestions that he deliberately took stanozolol, which is the same steroid that Ben Johnson tested positive for during the 1988 Olympic Games.
“I want to start this open letter to all cycling fans affirming without any doubt that I support the fight against doping and always have,” he begins.
“Yesterday morning I received a notification from the International Cycling Union [UCI – ed.]. In the control of January 3 a trace of stanozolol was found, a banned product, so I have been suspended. Before the news, my answer could only be that of disbelief.”
The 25 year old continues by stating he had never taken the substance in question.
“Moreover, after asking doctors, because did not know what kind of substance it is, I have found that stanozolol is a much more typical product of a bodybuilder than a professional cyclist and also is a product that always leaves a trace in the body for many weeks.
“In my case, it is illogical to think that I have used that product to improve my performance. I did not do it, neither because of my personal ethics nor because of the slightest common sense, since it was clearly going to give any positive control and also not going to improve my sports performance.
“I fully understand that at this point many will not want to believe in my innocence. But I have no doubt about it and I offer myself voluntarily to the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency and the other institutions that ensure a clean sport for me to undergo all the necessary tests and to also submit the products I have taken during this time.
“It is the objective of the Agency and the other institutions to punish cheaters, but also it is to help to the riders who do not have many financial resources and who have never used performance-enhancing drugs.”
Gallego said that he had checked all the supplements that he had used in recent years and that he was ‘more than clear’ that stanozolol was not on any of the labels and that none of the amino acids, proteins and carbohydrates that he takes should contain it.
“Therefore I can only assume that I was a victim of contamination in the laboratory.”
Gallego concluded his statement by saying that he would see the analysis of his B sample and at the same time will get all the supplements analysed that he has taken in recent months.
“For me, it is clear that if I have not take it [stanozolol] consciously and if it is not on the labels, I am a victim.”
After spending two years with the Portuguese Radio Popular Continental team, Gallego secured a pro contract with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA on the basis of some strong results in 2015. These included third on a stage and third overall in the 2.1-ranked Vuelta Comunidad de Madrid plus seventh overall in the similarly-rated Route du Sud.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA fired him on Tuesday when the news of his positive A sample was published on the UCI website.