A report in French sports daily L?Equipe on Wednesday claims that the ?B? test on Spanish climber Iban Mayo?s urine samples from this year?s Tour de France has also returned a positive for EPO.
If confirmed by the UCI, Mayo?s second positive test would mean that three riders failed dope tests in the Tour this year. The others being Kazakh Alexandre VInokourov and Italian Cristian Moreni
L?Equipe?s report says that Mayo?s second sample was tested at Chatenay-Malabry, the same Paris lab that showed an initial positive test for EPO for the Spaniard.
This would normally have meant a suspension from racing would automatically follow for the Spanish climber, but it is far from being the case. Following the results of the ?A? test, Chatenay Malabry was closed for holidays in August and the ?B? sample was sent to a World Anti-Doping Agency accredited lab in Ghent and apparently another lab in Australia. However, the UCI failed to confirm this to CW.
But the lab in Ghent said the readings on Mayo?s ?B? sample were illegible, and the entire Mayo dossier was archived by the Spanish Federation in October. The Spanish press also claimed that the Australian lab had produced the same ?illegible? result.
However, the UCI were not satisfied with this outcome and then handed over more of the second sample back to Paris, which has – according to L?Equipe – now said that the ?B? test is also positive.
If that is confirmed to be the case, then the Spanish Cycling Federation [SCF] would normally re-open proceedings against Mayo.
But should Mayo once again be cleared by the SCF, then the UCI will almost certainly appeal against that decision in the Swiss Court of Arbitration for Sport. [CAS]. The case would, therefore, drag on until at least the spring of 2008.
Mayo continues to assert his innocence, and recently an on-line petition has been started on his website in a bid to drum up public support.