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The UCI has announced that no less than eight riders tested positive for banned substances during this year’s Vuelta a Colombia.
The news comes less than a week after RCN Radio and Ciclo 21 said that Colombian national under 23 champion Róbinson Fabián López Rivera (Boyacá Es Para Vivirla) had traces of the EPO-related product CERA in a sample taken during the race.
Tuesday’s announcement by the UCI confirms this, and states that six others also tested positive for the same substance.
Those riders are Luis Alberto Largo Quintero (Sogamoso-argos-cooservicios-idrs), Jonathan Felipe Paredes Hernandez and Fabio Nelson Montenegro Forero (both Ebsa – Indeportes Boyaca), Edward Fabian Diaz Cardenas (EPM), Luis Fernando Camargo Flechas (Supergiros) and Oscar Soliz Vilca (Movistar club team). Like López, all were snared from blood samples taken on August 1 and 2.
An eighth rider, Juan Carlos Cadena Sastoque (Depormundo-m Bosa-ramguiflex), provided a urine sample on August 11. This has shown traces of of 19-noretiocholanolone and 19-norandrosterone, both classified as anabolic androgenic steroids by WADA.
All bar the Bolivian Soliz Vilca are Colombian.
“These intelligence-led doping controls were planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI, in charge of defining and implementing the anti-doping strategy in cycling,” said the UCI in its statement.
It added that the riders have been provisionally suspended, and have the opportunity to request and attend the B sample analysis.
All of the riders listed above are facing lengthy bans if, as expected, the B sample confirms the positive A sample result.
However Luis Alberto Largo Quintero is facing a far tougher sanction as this is his second positive case. In January 2014 he was subjected to an out of competition test after heading to Europe with Team Colombia. This test revealed traces of 19-norandrosterone and noretiocholanolone, leading to a two-year ban.
Like Alberto Largo Quintero and Fabian Diaz Cardenas, Jonathan Felipe Paredes Hernandez is another former Team Colombia rider. He took third on a stage in this year’s Vuelta a Colombia.
Other significant results from the riders under investigation in that race is the team time trial success Fabian Diaz Cardenas helped secure for EPM on stage one, Soliz Vilca’s second on a stage and eighth overall plus Fabián López Rivera’s 14th overall.
In 2015 Colombian rider Juan Pablo Villegas told CyclingTips that there was significant problem with doping in Colombia and that he had received death threats after speaking out.