A Spanish civil court overturned Ezequiel Mosquera’s EPO-linked doping suspension and reinstated his second place overall in the 2010 Vuelta a España behind Vincenzo Nibali. The Spaniard reported that the court ruled during the last Vuelta, in August or September 2014, but the news only emerged this weekend.
“It’s a relief, a huge relief,” the 39-year-old told Spain’s Marca newspaper on Sunday.
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“The first feeling is relief, but I felt so much resignation that I got used to live with that feeling.”
The civil court’s ruling may not hold much weight since the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, makes the final decision in sporting cases. For Mosquera to erase the ban, he would need to appeal his ban to CAS.
Mosquera’s troubles began when he was racing for Spanish second division team Xacobeo Galicia. He won the Bola del Mundo stage after out-lasting Nibali and Joaquím Rodríguez on the 23% gradients leading to the ski station. The victory helped him finish second overall in the Vuelta at 43 seconds the next day in Madrid.
The ride secured his new contract with first division team Vacansoleil in 2011, but before the 2010 season ended, on September 30, cycling’s governing body, the UCI announced he failed an anti-doping test for Hydroxyethyl starch. The substance is known as an EPO masking agent.
He never rode in Vacansoleil’s blue colours and received a two-year doping ban from the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC).
Even with the new civil court ruling, he explained that he will not compete again.
Mosquera’s legal move is similar to one undertaken by Roberto Heras. The Spaniard fought his EPO doping ban and the national federation in local courts and won. In December 2012, Spain’s Supreme Court noted the faulty laboratory work resulting in his positive test during the 2005 Vuelta a España and reinstated his overall victory.
Without the involvement of CAS, however, not much has changed. Vuelta organiser Unipublic still does recognise the ruling and lists Russian Denis Menchov as the 2005 winner.