Doping ban for Spanish Pro Continental rider overturned by court

Ibai Salas was one of a number of Burgo-BH riders sanctioned for doping offences

Ibai Salas at the 2018 Volta a Valenciana (Picture: Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spanish Pro Continental rider Ibai Salas has had his four year doping ban overturned by the courts.

The Burgos-BH pro was one of a number of riders sanctioned in the last year, which resulted in the team being temporarily suspended from racing by the UCI.

Salas, 27, was banned for four years because of irregularities in his biological passport.

But the Administrative Court of Sport in Spain has now declared the penalty null and void, because the passport does not prove Salas used a banned substance.

Spanish newspaper AS reports (opens in new tab) that the court said the biological passport “is not sufficient to prove the commission of an infringement.”

The punishment was handed out by the Spanish anti-doping authority, AEPSAD.

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A spokesperson for Salas said: “The irregular performance of the AEPSAD has meant the end of the career as a professional cyclist of Ibai Salas, unjustly accused of doping and going through an ordeal that has lasted more than ten months, until he can prove his innocence.”

Salas was banned by AEPSAD last November for the anti-doping rule violation arising from an adverse passport finding.

The UCI then suspended Burgos-BH for 21 days, as Salas was the second rider to be banned within 12 months.

Team-mate David Belda was banned for four years in December 2017 after an adverse analytical finding for EPO.

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A third Burgos rider, Igor Merino, was then banned four years in November after testing positive for growth hormone.

Shortly after, team bosses announced Burgos would be voluntarily suspending themselves from racing for three weeks in January and February to focus on anti-doping.

The UCI announced the following month that Burgos would be suspended for 21 days from mid-January.

Burgos returned to racing at the Volta a Comunitat Valenciana in February.

After the court ruling in favour of Salas, the team thanked the “unconditional support” of its fans and those who “never doubted” their innocence.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.