The team doctor for MTN-Qhubeka, Jarrad Van Zuydam, has posted a tweet today highlighting the successes for ex-dopers this season, and it’s something that has been particularly evident the past week.
In Belgium, the Spaniard Alejandro Valverde took victory in both Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Valverde has been linked by documentary and DNA evidence to Operación Puerto, a blood-doping affair uncovered in 2006 involving doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. In early 2009, the Italian National Olympic Committee matched DNA samples taken from Valverde during a rest day in Italy of the 2008 Tour de France to plasma seized in the Operación Puerto investigation. He would eventually serve a two-year suspension returning to competition in 2012.
In the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey earlier in the week, the veteran Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin won the third stage of the race. In 2009, it emerged that Rebellin had tested positive for CERA during the 2008 Olympic Men’s Road Race. This medal has now been revoked by the International Olympic Committee.
Meanwhile in Switzerland today, overall victory in the Tour de Romandie went to Russian rider Ilnur Zakarin. In July 2009, the Russian cycling federation announced that Zakarin had been banned for two years after he had tested positive for the anabolic steroid methandienone.
In the US, victory on the opening stage of the Tour of the Gila went to Rafael Montiel. The Colombian tested positive for a corticosteroid (triamcinolone acetonide) in the 2008 Vuelta a Colombia, which he raced with the Colombia es Pasion – Coldeportes squad.
In addition to the above victories, Spanish rider Oscar Sevilla took second place on the opening stage of Vuelta Mexico. Sevilla was also linked to the Operación Puerto and was subsequently fired from the T-Mobile team in relation to the case.