UCI chief McQuaid calls on Spain to tackle doping after yet another case

Saturday, October 2, 2010

UCI head calls on Spain to tackle doping

GEELONG, Australia — The president of cycling’s governing body has called on Spain’s government to do more to tackle doping after four Spanish riders were suspended in the past week for doping offenses.

Pat McQuaid made his call at the World Road Cycling Championships on Saturday, saying too many doping cases came out of Spain and the nation’s government appeared to be ignoring the problem.

He refused to comment specifically on the case of Alberto Contador, who is under provisional suspension after recording an abnormal test while winning the Tour de France this year for the third time.

McQuaid said cycling had suffered a “big hit” from the positive tests reported in the past week. In the latest case, the UCI provisionally suspended Olympic medalist Margarita Fullana on Saturday for using the banned blood booster EPO.

“There is a problem in Spain because … a large percentage of our doping cases come from Spain,” McQuaid told reporters in Geelong. “There doesn’t seem to be, so far, the will to tackle that in Spain and that really needs to come from the government down.”

The UCI reported earlier this week that Contador had tested positive for clenbuterol, a drug with muscle-building properties, on the second rest day of this year’s Tour. He claimed the drug must have been in meat he ate on the race’s rest day.

Tour of Spain runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera and teammate David Garcia da Pena were also suspended after positive tests for hydroxyethyl starch.

On Saturday, the UCI provisionally suspended three-time world mountain bike champion Fullana for EPO use.

“In relation to anti-doping, and in particular in relation to Spain and especially over the last couple of days in Spain, cycling has taken a big hit,” McQuaid said. “We have over the past month sanctioned four big Spanish riders.

“The (Spanish) government needs to work with the sport. The government needs first of all to recognize there’s a problem and I don’t know that they actually recognize there’s a problem.

“Then they need to sit down with the sport and put a lot of measures in place.”

McQuaid said Contador’s case was complex and could not predict how long it would take to arrive at an outcome.

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