Two Costa Rican cyclists have been suspended for allegedly returning positive tests dating from the Vuelta a Costa Rica 2019.
29-year-old Fabricio Quirós and 31-year-old Orlando Quesada are the two riders who have been provisionally suspended, with Quirós having won the penultimate stage and finishing seventh on GC in the race, which took place in late December, while Quesada finished 52nd overall.
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The Costa Rican national anti-doping agency, CONAD-CR, has not yet given many details on this latest case, but have applied a “mandatory provisional suspension” and will now go forward with the investigatory procedure.
Numerous doping cases have dogged the 2.2 ranked race, which is part of the UCI America Tour. 20-year-old Roberto Argüello was suspended in January for alleged blood doping and last week the son of the vice-president of the Costa Rican cycling association, Amil Munich, was suspended for alleged anabolic steroid use.
Doping controversies are nothing new for the Costa Rican stage race. In 2017, 12 riders, including the overall winner, four stage victors and five more riders who placed inside the top 20 on GC tested positive for banned substances, including EPO.
A number of other doping stories have made the headlines already in 2020. A drugs bust by Spanish police uncovered a huge EPO ring, which saw criminals post performance-enhancing drugs to athletes worldwide. The major operation that resulted in six arrests and 850 doses of the blood booster being recovered was the largest ever EPO bust in Europe.
Meanwhile the lawyer of Stefan Denifl, the Austrian cyclist implicated in Operation Aderlass, recently made a startling accusation in court, saying: “In cycling there is 90 per cent doping. There is no super clean athlete.”
News has also emerged that former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman is likely to face anti-doping charges before the conclusion of his medical misconduct hearing.
Dr Freeman is currently fighting claims from the General Medical Council that he ordered testosterone to the British Cycling headquarters in 2011, while “knowing or believing” it was to be used to enhance an athlete’s performance.