Two-year ban for Spanish racer David Garcia

Positive test for EPO and HES during Vuelta a Espana

Spanish cyclist David García Dapena has been handed a two-year doping ban by the Spanish Cycling Federation following his positive test at the last Vuelta a España.

García, who finished the Tour of Spain in 11th place competing with the Xacobeo team, took the in-competition test on 13 September after which the Madrid laboratory analysing his sample detected banned blood booster EPO.

The World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Madrid found the racer had also tested positive for another prohibited substance, Hydroxyethyl Starch (HES), based on samples taken on 16 September in Cologne, Germany.

HES is known to improve the blood circulation, but it also helps to mask the use of blood boosting substances such as EPO (erythropoietin) by reducing the levels of red blood cells, known as haematocrit.

Under cycling rules, findings of HES masking agent do not warrant an immediate provisional suspension, while performance-enhancing EPO does. García, who won the Tour of Turkey and a stage of the Vuelta in 2008, has announced that he has ended his career as a professional. 

His team-mate Ezequiel Mosquera, runner-up at the 2010 Vuelta, is apparently still waiting for the return of his B sample after an initial positive test for HES. He has signed with Dutch team Vacansoleil for this season.

The ban on García is yet another blow to the reputation of Spain's cyclists as it came a day after Tour de France champion Alberto Contador received notification of a one-year ban proposal from the Spanish Cycling Federation for his positive test from last year's Tour de France.

© AFP 2011

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