Positive test for Volta a Portugal winner Marque means planned Movistar contract now torn up
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Friday, December 13, 2013

Positive test for Volta a Portugal winner Marque means planned Movistar contract now torn up

by VeloNation Press at 7:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Spaniard facing possible lengthy ban over betamethasone positive

MovistarAnnounced in late August as joining the Movistar team in 2014, the Galician Alex Marque will now not be able to take up the contract after it emerged that he had tested positive during his winning Volta a Portugal campaign.

The 32 year old rider had appeared to make the breakthrough after ten years with smaller Portuguese teams. He competed with squads such as Carvalhelhos – Boavista, Palmeiras Resort – Prio and OFM Quinta da Lixa, but WorldTour squad Movistar would have been by far his biggest setup.

Marque took over the race lead in the Volta a Portugal in August after winning the stage nine time trial. He then defended the lead until the end, beating his OFM Quinta da Lixa team-mate Gustavo Cesar Veloso by four seconds.

However, according to El Pais, things have now turned sour for the rider, with a lengthy ban rather than a big contract looking to be in store.

Unnamed sources within the Movistar team have confirmed that he tested positive for the substance betamethasone, which is banned under the WADA code. The UCI has sent a file to the Spanish national federation RFEC.

With a possible two year ban plus disqualification from the Portuguese event possible in store for him, the Movistar team has moved on with its plans without him.

“There is a clause which the cyclist assures that he is going to the team without any type of problems, and in the case of any, the contract would immediate cease to have any value,” stated a team source.

The Movistar team announced the signing of the Basque rider Igor Anton earlier this week. It is unclear if Marque’s positive freed up that place or if there is another slot which could in theory be filled now.

Anton had been left stranded by the collapse of the Euskaltel Euskadi team plus unsuccessful talks between that squad and the Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, who had been interested in taking over the WorldTour licence plus some of the team’s rider contracts and structures.

Anton will line out alongside strong riders such as Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana and former Vuelta a España winner Alejandro Valverde during 2014. Marque, however, will not.

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