Costa returns to competition today in Amstel Gold Race
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Costa returns to competition today in Amstel Gold Race

by Shane Stokes at 6:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Doping, Amstel Gold Race
 
Classic start puts end to long break from racing

Rui CostaTen days after Team Movistar announced that Rui Costa had signed a deal until the end of 2013, the Portuguese rider returns to competition today in the Amstel Gold Race.

Costa previously competed with Caisse d’Epargne, the prior incarnation of the team before a sponsorship change this winter, but was sidelined after he and his brother Mario tested positive for the substance methylhexaneamine at the Portuguese championships last summer.

They said it was contained in a supplement they had been taking, something which was reportedly confirmed by analysis of the product at the Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ghent.

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 brothers’ suspension was overturned earlier this year by the Portuguese federation, making both eligible to return to competition.

Costa will join Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga, José Vicente Garcia Acosta, Jesus Herrada Lopez, Vasili Kiryienka, Ignatas Konovalovas, Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil and Enrique Sanz in today’s Dutch Classic.

He is determined to get back up to speed. Last year he picked up three wins, 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.

“It's great coming back to racing at the highest level, especially on my home team which gave me my first shot in the first place,” he told VeloNation recently. “It's a great feeling and I'm grateful for the opportunity. My goals now are to do a great job for the team and if possible have a better season than last year.”

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