Two riders at a New York sportive have been caught taking EPO.
Colombian Felipe Mendez and Argentinian Gabriel Raff tested positive at the Campagnolo GFNY World Championship event in an out-of-competition control.
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Race organisers, the Gran Fondo New York company, said that both riders were among several randomly selected athletes out of a testing pool of 60 and contained riders with a legitimate chance of placing in the top 10 overall or win an age group.
GFNY then confirmed both riders had tested positive and would be handed lifetime bans from its events.
Bizarrely, organisers have also claimed that Mendez tried to avoid detection by claiming to be his own twin brother, who was also participating, also turning up on the start line with a damaged wristband to try and mask his identity. He eventually finished 71st. Mendez, who used to be a professional Ironman athlete, finished 25th.
CEO of the GFNY events, Uli Fluhme, said: ‘It’s simple, you can’t catch cheaters if you don’t perform doping controls. These results show that testing is necessary and that it works.
“Unfortunately, most large races still don’t test which sends a clear, yet terribly worrying sign: doping is allowed here.
“We don’t allow course cutting at our races so why would we look the other way when it comes to doping? GFNY riders train hard for races. They deserve fair competition. We owe them doping controls, even if the costs are now well over $15,000 each year.
“Not testing the athletes is a selfish, cost-saving decision from a race director. It forces everyone to take drugs to try to level the playing field.”
2011 Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo has had his title stripped, after being caught doping, with the win expected to soon be handed to Chris Froome (Ineos).