News Flash: Mayo Tests Positive For EPO – Say it aint so

News Flash: Mayo tests positive
Filed: July 30, 2007

Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir) Photo ©: SirottiSpanish climbing specialist Iban Mayo became the latest rider to fail a drugs test after it was revealed he had tested positive for EPO during the Tour de France, it was announced by his Saunier Duval team on Monday.

The 29-year-old, who finished 16th in the Tour, which finished on Sunday, has been suspended by his team.

“The Saunier Duval team was notified by the UCI that Iban Mayo had tested positive for EPO following a test on July 24 which was a rest day on the Tour de France,” read a statement on the team’s website.

The statement added that the team suspended Mayo immediately and would sack him if the B sample confirmed the positive test.

If it is confirmed Mayo would be the third rider to have tested positive on the Tour. Pre-race favourite Alexander Vinokourov was thrown out of the race last Tuesday for homologous blood doping while veteran Cristian Moreni was ejected the day after for failing a testosterone test.

Race leader Michael Rasmussen – whose participation had been queried in any case because of missing four dope tests in the past 18 months – was thrown out by his Rabobank team last Wednesday for lying about his whereabouts in June – he said he had been in Mexico, when he had been sighted in Italy.

It is not the first time Mayo has been implicated in a doping story as last month he was suspected of having failed a test in the Giro d’Italia. However, he was cleared by the UCI.

Mayo was reported to have tested positive for testosterone, the banned male sex hormone which snared Floyd Landis on his way to victory in last year’s Tour de France. But the UCI said in a statement that Mayo, who was tested following his victory on the 19th stage to Terme di Comano, had not breached doping rules.

In his prime as part of the Basque Euskaltel team, the 29-year-old Mayo was one of the few riders capable of challenging the dominance of Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich on the Tour de France mountain stages.

He won the stage to Alpe d’Huez in 2003, and won the Dauphine Libere stage race, an important build-up to the Tour, in 2004 and showed signs of a return to form this season when he won a stage on the Giro.