The UCI have issued a communique stating that Fuji-Servetto rider Alberto Fernandez de la Puebla has tested positive for banned blood-boosting drug EPO.
The Spaniard’s positive dates from an out-of-competition test on October 15th. The test had been carried out, the UCI said, because of anomalies in his biological passport values.
Since turning pro in 2006, Fernandez de La Puebla’s best season was in 2007 when he won a stage of the Tour of Asturias and another of the Bicicleta Vasca. Since then he has had no more wins, although he did finish 24th in the Tour of Lombardy on October 17 and he was due to race with Italian squad Camaioro in 2010.
His team, formerly known as Saunier Duval-Prodir, has had several high-profile positive tests for EPO in the past. The most notorious case was Riccardo Ricco, the Italian climber, in the 2008 Tour de France, whilst another was Spaniard Iban Mayo.
Earlier this year, two former Saunier Duval riders, Riccardo Serrano and Ruben Lobato were suspended for irregular blood values in their passports.
Whilst Lobato had already retired before the suspension, Serrano – who won a stage of this year’s Tour of Romandie whilst riding for the team under their new colours of Fuji-Servetto – then tested positive for EPO.
If the ‘B’ test is confirmed, Fernandez de la Puebla faces a two-year suspension.