Spanish judge proposes a two year suspension in Ezequiel Mosquera doping case
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spanish judge proposes a two year suspension in Ezequiel Mosquera doping case

by Shane Stokes at 7:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Last year’s Vuelta a España runner-up still waiting for a final ruling

Ezequiel MosqueraStalled for over a year, the case of Ezequiel Mosquera finally appears to be moving forward again with a Spanish prosecutor calling for a lengthy suspension for the 2010 Vuelta a España runner-up.

Victoria Carmen Lopez, the judge in the case of Ezequiel Mosquera, has proposed a 24 month sanction to the Competition Committee of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC). The rider tested positive for the substance hydroxyethyl starch on the penultimate day of last year’s Vuelta a España, after winning the Bola del Mundo stage.

It can be used as a masking agent for the effects of EPO and while tests for the latter substance proved negative, his Xacobeo Galicia team-mate David Garcia was positive for both.

Mosquera insists he is innocent. His current Vacansoleil team has not raced him this year due to the uncertainty about the case.

Carmen Lopez’s decision, which was reported by the Faro de Vigo newspaper, is at variance with that of the Spanish Anti Doping Agency (AEA, Agencia Española Antidopaje). At the end of July it gave its support to the rider, saying that it was impossible to determine how the substance entered his system.

Under WADA rules, the substance is considered a masking agent but banned only if it is injected. The AEA says that it is not possible to distinguish how it got into his body. Mosquera has repeatedly denied taking the substance intravenously, with his defence team claiming it must have been ingested accidentally via food.

In a statement released in March, Mosquera called on the UCI to clear him. “Scientific studies show that Hydroxyethyl starch doesn’t enable the improvement of sporting performance. Hydroxyethyl starch isn’t forbidden in case of intramuscular or oral intake; it is only not authorized by intravenous intake.

“Unlike what is generally assumed, Hydroxyethyl starch doesn’t hide doping substances,” he claimed. “This was proved through other cases, where laboratories could detect Hydroxyethyl starch together with EPO.” He claimed that the WADA-accredited laboratory in Köln examined his samples for EPO. “They looked for it and they concluded it was not in my body,” he said.

However as the name suggests, masking agents can help disguise the use of such products. One type, diuretics, can increase the rate of urine excretion, thus helping a banned substance be expelled from the system sooner than usual. This narrows the time period when it can be detected, making it even tougher to pick up EPO.

Furthermore, hydroxyethyl has been described as a blood plasma volume expander which can be used to disguise the increase in hematocrit and other markers which occur with the use of EPO and other related substances.

The judge’s recommendation will now be considered by the RFEC. If it decides to impose a two year ban, he would have less than a year to serve as he voluntarily stopped racing after the news of the positive test broke. If it clears him, he will be eligible to race again immediately, although the UCI and WADA would both have the right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Mosquera turns 36 next month; whatever the outcome, it remains to be seen if he can secure a decent contract when he is cleared to compete again.


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