Spanish cyclist misses Giro for doping

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Spanish cyclist Patxi Vila has attributed an excess of the hormone to a tainted energy bar.

7 May 2008

MADRID - Spanish cyclist Patxi Vila of team Lampre has admitted to testing positive for testosterone in the surprise drug test he underwent in early March, causing him to miss the upcoming Giro d'Italia.

The rider, who has attributed an excess of the hormone to a tainted energy bar, is still waiting for the Spanish Federation to test his second blood sample.

"Before people start twisting things and saying things that aren't true I would prefer to explain what happened," Vila told El Diario Vasco on Tuesday.

"They detected a level which didn't correspond with the [International Cycling Union's] parameters. The quantity was very small indeed. In reality it is a positive but until the 'B' test we can't say any more."

The Navarran, who was preparing to compete in his sixth career Giro, had to retire from Switzerland's Tour de Romandie last week on hearing of his doping positive, despite leading the race.

On the other hand, the week offered a positive turn of events for another Spaniard, the reigning Tour de France Champion Alberto Contador, who on Friday was informed that his team Astana was being offered a last-minute invitation to participate.

Previously, Italy's Giro, as well as other Amaury Sports Organisation-run cycling events, had decided to bar Contador's team from their competitions due to the team's past involvements in doping scandals, including one which linked its ex-sporting director to the Operation Puerto scandal.

As of now, the Tour de France is the only major tournament that has not wavered in its decision to bar Astana from its race.

[El Pais / K. R / Expatica]


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