Organisers of the 2019 Campagnolo GFNY World Championship in New York have announced that two riders tested positive for recombinant EPO during out-of-competition controls conducted at the event on May 19. Felipe Mendez of Colombia finished 71st and Gabriel Raff of Argentina, a former pro Ironman triathlete, finished 25th.
The two men were among 60 riders selected for testing out of those considered to have a realistic chance to place in the top 10 overall or win an age category.
During the control, Mendez reportedly tried to claim his twin brother’s identity. His brother was also registered for the race, but did not compete.
On race day, he showed up at the start with a “broken” wristband, which organisers believe was an attempt to hide his identity.
Both men were disqualified and handed a lifetime ban from all GFNY events.
GFNY NYC has had five previous positive doping controls in its nine-year history.
In 2012, David Anthony from the United States, and Gabriele Guarini of Italy, both tested positive for EPO after winning their respective age groups.
In 2015, the first over the line, Oscar Tovar from Colombia, and his countryman Yamile Lugo, who came third in the women's race, both tested positive for testosterone.
In 2017, Manuel Serrano Plowells of Mexico tested positive for EPO.
"It's simple: you can't catch cheaters if you don't perform doping controls,” said GFNY CEO Uli Fluhme. “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 a 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.”
GFNY race rules state that a rider who tests positive has to reimburse the cost of the doping test.
Earlier this year, a 42-year-old US amateur cyclist was handed a four-year ban after testing positive for five banned substances. Cat 3 racer, Michel Carrillo, had been tested as part of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s RaceClean Program which focuses on amateur events.
In May, Raúl Portillo, the UCI Gran Fondo world champion for the 40-45 age group, was suspended following a positive test for EPO.