Tour of Turkey winner Sayar claims EPO positive for earlier race may be a French conspiracy
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tour of Turkey winner Sayar claims EPO positive for earlier race may be a French conspiracy

by VeloNation Press at 1:29 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Presidential Tour of Turkey
Says irregularities in testing procedure took place, and that French lab may be trying to ensure rider from that country wins

Mustafa SayarThe winner of this year’s Tour of Turkey, Mustafa Sayar, has denied doping in the earlier Tour of Algeria, saying that the correct procedure was not followed by the Châtenay Malabry lab in question and suggesting that there may be a conspiracy.

Sayar, who the UCI said on Wednesday had provided a positive A sample for EPO, claims that the lab may be working against him because he beat three French riders in the Turkish race. The insinuation is that by ruling he was positive in Algeria, that he would be stripped of his Tour of Turkey title and there would be a French winner instead.

Sayar spoke at length on the subject to the Turkish website He started by arguing that the test itself was invalid, saying that the lab told him that there was insufficient quantity in the A sample for the test to be carried out, and that the positive EPO test came from the B sample.

This contradicts what the UCI stated this week; the governing body said that the A sample was positive and that Sayar had the right to request the analysis of the B sample.

“CML [the Châtenay Malabry lab – ed.] has opened my B sample, informing me and claiming the urine given by me was insufficient and they’d need more for additional tests and analysis. They said “even if you don’t agree, we have to open it”. The lab has taken urine from the B sample and declared it as A sample.

“I don’t believe that the urine was insufficient. I have given 170cc. During the Tour of Turkey, my samples were around 100cc. But even though I have given 170cc during the Tour d’Algerie, the lab claimed it was not sufficient and wanted to open the B sample.”

He said that a representative of his spoke with the laboratory and that that individual was told that his testosterone levels were high and that the A sample was used to determine if these levels were natural or artificial. Sayar claimed that the laboratory afterwards ruled that his testosterone levels were normal and natural.

“I believe that the amount of urine I have given should be enough for testosterone, EPO and any other test,” he said.

The Turkish rider said that he had made a request for the sample to be tested in another country, but that Châtenay Malabry had said that was not possible, and that there was insufficient time to do so. Sayar said he pointed out that there had been no result from Algeria for four months, and that he didn’t understand why the lab was now saying there was insufficient time.

Claims of conspiracy:

Sayar stunned the peloton in Turkey when he dominated the race. Although he had finished third from last the previous year, he seized the lead with an assertive performance on stage six, breaking clear on the final climb to Selcuk.

He finished eighteen seconds clear of Cofidis pair Yoann Bago and Nicolas Edet, and deposed the previous leader Natnael Berhane (Europcar).

The performance was met with clear scepticism from several riders and teams, due partly to the jump in level, and also because his Torku team-mate Ivailo Gabrovsky made a similar leap the previous year, won the race, and then tested positive for EPO.

Unlike the other teams in the race, Torku is not subject to the biological passport as it is a Continental squad.

VeloNation was told by the UCI this week that the Tour of Turkey results are still being processed and no conclusion has been reached.

Sayar claimed conspiracy today in relation to that. “If they were any adverse findings, it would have been in the news long ago,” he said. “I am sure if they had a positive outcome from TUR tests, they wouldn’t publish the Tour d’Algerie result. I think it all started after the TUR tests came clean.

“As the TUR tests came clean; they have turned back and tested earlier samples from the season. What is the reason that they asked for “additional analysis” from me but not from second or third place riders?”

His conclusion is that it is a French campaign to ensure a French winner. “I don’t know whether it is a error by the laboratory but I think it was a deliberate, intentional finding. A French laboratory delivers the results. I raced French teams in TUR, beating all French riders. There are three French riders just behind me in the general classification. They have started harassing the president of the cycling federation and UCI already during the TUR, saying “Sayar should abandon or we’d leave”.

However VeloNation understands that the organisers themselves were reluctant to take back the Torku team after last year’s positive test by Gabrovsky. They ultimately were allowed start, but only after race officials sought assurances from the team that its riders were clean and that there would be no further embarrassment to the race from a positive test.

Race organization director Aydin Ayhan Guney told VeloNation this week that he was saddened and disappointed by what had happened. “As it is the only Turkish team that can participate in the Tour of Turkey, we had to accept them,” he said. “But for next year we will see what we can do. Maybe we will require all the teams to be in the biological passport before they get invitations. All of the other teams are already in it, but Torku was not.”

Fortunately, he said that he didn’t think there would be a danger to the Presidential Tour of Turkey’s future, as some had suggested. “I don’t think there will be a big harm to the race. It should go on.”

Sayar claims lab won’t act fairly:

Sayar said that he had been in contact with a Spanish attorney who had worked on Alberto Contador’s case for Clenbuterol, and that he was considering an appeal.

“I am convinced that if I would have the chance to have my sample tested in another laboratory, the result would be negative,” he claimed. “But I don’t think that CML would eat its word in a second test. It is unclear what was the outcome of the A sample, they opened the B sample, delivered this result. Would they test the B sample again? I think this is a dead end.”

Sayar had been challenged about his jump in level at the Tour of Turkey. On the day of his mountain stage win, Sayar was told by a journalist during the press conference that some riders in the peloton had doubts. “What would you say to your colleagues?” he was asked then.

His response was brief. “I don’t have an answer for them,” he said, bluntly (see video), before waiting for the next question.

At the end of the race, he once again faced similar questions. VeloNation asked him how he could explain his progression in a year, going from an anonymous showing in the race to winning it.

“As I told you before, we prepared for this race for maybe six months, doing a very hard tempo of training,” he explained (see video interview here). “We were always abroad in foreign competitions. These competitions made me develop very much.

“Psychologically I was in a very good situation, I felt very good psychologically. I know that high altitude training also makes very good competition. Where I live is a place of very high altitude.”

When asked about Gabrovsky, he said that the rider was in the past and that he had no connection with that case.

“Now I am very confident of myself and I don’t think I will have this kind of problem,” he said. “I am not happy to receive these kind of questions while there is nothing to be proven about myself. I am not happy to be asked these kind of questions.”

Three months later, he is facing many more questions.


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