Three year contract with Team Movistar officially confirmed for Costa
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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Three year contract with Team Movistar officially confirmed for Costa

by Shane Stokes at 6:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Portuguese rider back in action

Rui CostaTwo weeks after it was first reported by Portuguese media that Rui Costa had signed a deal to race with Team Movistar in 2011, the Spanish team has officially confirmed that the rider will be competing in its colours until the end of 2013.

Announcing the news, the squad said that he would slot in to fill the gap created by the injury of one of its riders. “Rui Costa will be strengthening the Movistar Team's roster as the squad lost Rubén Plaza a month ago,” it said. “For many more weeks, the Spanish rider will still be healing from fractures to his tibia and fibula in the Vuelta a Murcia. The blue squad has now 25 riders on active list again.”

The 24 year old Portuguese rider competed with the team’s previous incarnation, Caisse d’Epargne, in 2009 and 2010.

Aside from riding well in support of its leaders, he also clocked up some good results. Those included victory in the 2009 4 Jours de Dunkerque and thirteenth overall in the Tour de Suisse. He then took three wins last year, namely the Trofeo Deia, stage eight of the Tour de Suisse and the Portuguese time trial championships. He also made his Tour de France debut.

However his career was disrupted when he and his brother Mario tested positive for the substance methylhexaneamine at the Portuguese championships.

They said it was contained in a supplement they had been taking. Biciciclismo reported in December that this was verified by analysis of the product at the Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ghent.

“We have proven that we took a contaminated nutritional supplement and that the label does not contain anything illegal,” the brothers said in a statement. “We never dope. We are athletes who are anti-doping, honest and loyal.” They are also members of the Bike Pure organisation, which advocates clean sport.

WADA introduced the substance to its banned list prior to the start of 2010, but then reclassified it at the end of last season to reflect a spate of accidental positives. It is now listed as a potentially less-serious ‘specified substance’. Providing athletes can prove that its ingestion was accidental, sanctions may be limited to a warning or a short ban.

The case illustrates the danger of using supplements, even if the ingredients are checked. Methylhexaneamine can also be found in germanium oil.

Team Movistar has not yet specified when Costa will make his debut, but the rider will be keen to return to racing as soon as possible and put a difficult period behind him.

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