World cycling's governing body, the UCI, has confirmed that it has passed the file on Vaconsoleil-DCM rider Ezequiel Mosquera, runner-up to Vincenzo Nibali in last year’s Vuelta, to the Spanish national federation, the RFEC, to open disciplinary proceedings against him in respect of his failing a doping control during that race. The official confirmation follows Mosquera himself breaking the news yesterday evening.
A sample taken from Mosquera during September’s race, which he rode in the colours of the Xacobeo-Galicia team, winning the penultimate stage to Bola del Mundo, tested positive for hydroxyethyl starch. The substance can be used as a masking agent for EPO.
News of Mosquera’s positive test broke on the same day the cycling world learnt that Alberto Contador had tested positive for clenbuterol.
Besides Mosquera, fellow Xacobeo-Galicia rider David Garcia Dapena also failed a test not only for hydroxyethyl starch but also for EPO, and has since been banned for two years. The rider has subsequently announced his retirement.
In a statement released this morning, the UCI said:
The International Cycling Union (UCI) yesterday requested the Spanish National Cycling Federation (RFEC) to open disciplinary proceedings against the rider Ezequiel Mosquera. This request complies with the procedure set out by the World Anti-Doping Code as established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Following the explanation provided by the rider after adverse analytical findings have been notified to him, the UCI was obliged to conduct further scientific investigations in collaboration with the WADA accredited laboratory of Cologne in order to ascertain the origin of these results.
At the end of this enquiry entrusted to highly qualified experts, and considering all the information currently in its possession, the UCI has concluded that disciplinary proceedings should be opened against Ezequiel Mosquera.
It is now the responsibility of RFEC to determine whether Ezequiel Mosquera has breached the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.
Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information until these proceedings have been completed.
Yesterday evening, the Vacansoleil-DCM website published a link to a statement from Mosquera published on the Spanish cycling website Velofutur, which reads:
PRESS RELEASE-EZEQUEL [sic] MOSQUERA
1. Today, after waiting for a solution for seven months, the International Cycling Federation sent me an e-mail to announce that they send my dossier to the Spanish Cycling Federation.
2. This decision has not changed anything in my personal situation: I am not banned and I am not suspended.
3. The case is arrived at the Spanish Cycling Federation, the only authority who can decide about my current situation. This changed one thing to my current difficult situation which is that from now on I can defend my case.
4. As decided as from day one of the allegations against me I still won’t give interviews. This decision is made to have the authorities do their job without external pressure.
5. Finally I wish to inform you that I accept the position of my current team of not having me race until a final decision has been made on this case. They always emphasized to take a decision after it is known whether or not this case leads to a punishment for me.
Vacansoleil’s other high-profile signing for 2011, the Italian rider Riccardo Riccò, was sacked by the team earlier this year after being admitted to hospital following what was subsequently reported as being a botched self-administered blood transfusion.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.