Convicted EPO doper Jarlinson Pantano returns to cycling with Colombian EPM team

Former Trek-Segafredo and IAM Cycling rider rejoins peloton after his four-year band expires

Jarlinson Pantano at the 2018 Volta Catalunya
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Convicted doper Jarlinson Pantano has made a return to cycling, joining amateur level club EPM in his native Colombia, after his ban from cycling expired.

The 34-year-old won stages of the Tour de France, Tour de Suisse and Volta a Catalunya during his WorldTour career with IAM Cycling and Trek-Segafredo, before testing positive for EPO in 2019.

Pantano was suspended and fired from Trek in 2019 after he returned a positive test for the blood booster, before he announced his retirement from the sport, saying he didn’t see the point in spending his money to fight cycling's governing body, the UCI.

He was then banned from cycling for four years - dating from his positive test in 2019 - a ban which has now ended.

A statement from the UCI in 2020 said: “The UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal has rendered its decision in the case involving Mr Jarlinson Pantano Gómez.

“The Tribunal found the rider guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (presence of Recombinant Erythropoietin) and imposed a four-year period of ineligibility on the rider.”

When he retired, Pantano said: “I never thought I’d end my career like this. I feel cheated.

“I am not asking anyone to forgive me because I am innocent.”

Pantano started his career with Colombia-Coldeportes in 2012 and went on to sign with WorldTour squad IAM Cycling in 2015, before the move to Trek in 2017.

His biggest victory was stage 15 of the 2016 Tour de France to Culoz, which he won ahead of Rafał Majka, while Pantano also took Colombia’s national time trial colours in 2017.

After his retirement last year, Pantano ran for office in Colombia in the Cali council elections, but didn't win his seat.

The Colombian EPM team is sponsored by a utilities company from the country's northwest, based in Medellin, and its kit is made by Go Rigo Go, a clothing company connected to EF Education-EasyPost pro Rigoberto Urán.

Earlier this year, Pantano defended Nairo Quintana from the UCI, saying: "The UCI is a mafia. Unfortunately, I feel ... that the UCI wants to damage the image of us Colombians and it is succeeding."

Quintana returned a positive test during last year's Tour de France for tramadol on two separate occasions, and his result was subsequently stripped by the UCI. The Colombian is still without a team.

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.