McQuaid puts Vacansoleil on alert
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

McQuaid puts Vacansoleil on alert

by Samuel Morrison at 5:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Team may be called to explain Mosquera/Riccò doping cases

International Cycling Union (UCI) president, Pat McQuaid put team Vacansoleil on alert today for its links to two doping cases. Two of its riders, Riccardo Riccò and Ezequiel Mosquera, are involved in separate doping investigations in their home countries of Italy and Spain.

"Once the Mosquera case is resolved," McQuaid told French newspaper, L'Equipe, "it's not out of the question that his team won't be called to explain its signing policy."

The UCI licence committee promoted Dutch team, Vacansoleil from second division to ProTeam status in November. Riccò's UCI points from last year helped the team make the jump. Riccò won seven races last year and Mosquera finished second at the Vuelta a España stage race.

Doping investigations are making the most headlines for the team recently. Since signing for the team, the two cyclists have been involved in battles at home.

Riccò was hospitalised last month when he reportedly transfused his own blood, which is considered doping. He had already served a 20-month doping suspension for doping with EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France. Mosquera tested positive at the Vuelta for Hydroxyethyl starch, a drug that may be used to mask EPO. The result only was revealed after he signed for Vacansoleil. The team last month suspended Riccò and Mosquera.

McQuaid is waiting to hear the outcome of Mosquera's case. The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) will reportedly investigate his case.

The 35-year-old finished second to Vincenzo Nibali and won stage 20 at the Vuelta a España last year. After the race, an anti-doping test from stage 18 revealed he used Hydroxyethyl starch (HES). Though he was provisionally suspended, he was allowed to race due to a technicality. Presence of the drug is considered doping by the UCI, but the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) rules are different.

Vacansoleil risks starting its first Giro d'Italia this May, as well. Race director Angelo Zomegnan has hinted he may ignore UCI rules that state all 18 ProTeams can race in the Giro. A decision may come from the UCI or the RFEC before May 7, when the race starts in Turin.


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