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Responding to Tuesday’s news that he had provided an A test sample deemed positive for EPO and been removed from Trek-Segafredo’s Tour de France team, André Cardoso has denied using it or any other banned substance.
“Today, I received notification from the UCI that my A Sample, from a urine test done at my home on June 18th, tested positive for Erythropoietin,” he said in a statement issued on his Facebook page. “I have requested to the UCI that my B sample be tested as soon as possible.
“Getting the chance to ride at the pinnacle of professional cycling is the greatest honour I could ever hope for, and I was looking forward to doing my best for my team and myself at the Tour. I believe in clean sport and have always conducted myself as a clean athlete, but I realize that this news puts a dark cloud on not just myself but also on our sport and my team, teammates and staff.
“Before anything else, those people are my friends and colleagues for whom I have unlimited respect, and under no circumstances would I ever do something that could put them, their families or their reputations in jeopardy.”
The Portuguese rider has been provisionally suspended by the UCI and knows that he has a big fight on his hand. B sample results are seldom different to the A sample, and the odds of him being cleared are scarce. However he said that he is hoping that his name is cleared when the second analysis is done.
“I am fully aware that I will be presumed to be guilty, but it’s important to me to say that I am devastated by this news and I wanted to state that I have never taken any illegal substances. I’ve seen firsthand through my career the awful effects that performance-enhancing drugs have had on our sport, and I would never want to be a part of that. I’ve always tried to be a constructive influence in the peloton and on young, aspiring cyclists. It is my great hope that the B sample will come back as negative and clear me of any wrongdoing.”
The 32-year-old moved to the Trek-Segafredo team from Cannondale-Drapac last winter and was set to ride his first Tour. His past results include second overall in the Volta a Portugal, 10th overall in the Tour de San Luis, 14th in last year’s Giro d’Italia and 19th in the recent Critérium du Dauphiné.
He ended his statement appealing for patience. “Until [the B sample comes back], I hope that those who know me, trust me when I say that I’m innocent, and that my colleagues and cycling fans everywhere don’t judge me too quickly during this difficult time.”