Former World Champion Astarloa receives two-year doping ban
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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Former World Champion Astarloa receives two-year doping ban

by Samuel Morrison at 4:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Spanish Federation ban and fine Astarloa based on the UCI's biological passport

The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced today that former World Champion Igor Astarloa received a suspension for doping. The Spaniard was one of the first five cyclists the UCI caught with its biological passport in June last year.

"The disciplinary commission of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC)," said the UCI in a press release, sanctioned Astarloa with a "two-year suspension from 26 November 2010 and €35.000 fine."

Astarloa, Pietro Caucchioli, Francesco De Bonis, Ricardo Serrano and Rubén Lobato were the first five cyclists the UCI caught with its biological passport. It announced that it provisionally suspended the five cyclists on June 17, 2009.

The biological passport started in January 2008 and offers a way to signal doping without a traditional positive test. Scientists can plot blood and urine readings over time to be able to recognise irregularities.

Astarloa won the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada, and the Belgian Classic Flèche Wallonne in 2003. In 2006, he won the Milano-Torino. His last race was on May 2, 2009.

He maintains his innocence and in January, announced that he retired from cycling.

"There is no positive control and I see that things aren't fair," Astarloa told El Mundo Deportivo. "Instead of always being in that bad atmosphere, I think it is better to leave it and go with the good memories. I never tested positive."

Italian Caucchioli received a two-year suspension on June 3, 2010, from his national federation, but recently announced he would appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). He was encouraged by the cases of Italian Franco Pellizotti and Slovenian Tadej Valjavec. Their national federations ruled that there was insufficient evidence of doping from the biological passport's findings and shelved the cases.

The UCI has appealed the decision of the Slovenian Federation to the CAS.

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