Spanish team Burgos - BH given wildcard spot for Volta a Catalunya amid doping suspension

The whole team has been suspended after a string of doping offences

Burgos-BH at the 2018 Volta a Catalunya (Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Image credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Spanish team Burgos – BH has been handed a wildcard spot for the Volta a Catalunya while serving a suspension after a string of doping offences.

The Pro Continental outfit are currently under a temporary ban from racing after three riders were suspended for doping.

But despite the UCI-enforced sanction, the Volta a Catalunya stage race announced on social media that Burgos would take the final wildcard slot of the 2019 edition.

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Burgos is currently suspended for 21 days after three riders – Ibai Salas, David Belda and Igor Merino - were all caught doping within 12 months.

Ibai Salas, 27, was banned for four years for an anti-doping rule violation arising from an adverse passport finding.

David Belda, 35, was also banned for four years by the National Anti-Doping Organisation of Spain after an adverse analytical finding for EPO.

Then in November, 28-year-old Igor Merino was banned for four years after testing positive for growth hormone during a doping control carried out in June.

The UCI referred Burgos to its Disciplinary Commission after the first two doping positives, in accordance with its anti-doping rule violations.

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

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Speaking after the suspension was announced, team manger Julio Andrés Izquierdo said: “We have decided to voluntarily suspend our competitive activities for three weeks.

“It is essential for us that all riders and employees understand that clean sport is paramount and that there is no room for cheaters.”

The suspension started on January 16 and will continue until February 5, allowing them to compete in the Volta a Catalunya during the final week of March.

Burgos-BH is a member of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), an organisation made up of professional cycling teams that aims to clean up cycling’s image.

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Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

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.