Colombian Felipe Mendez and Argentinian Gabriel Raff tested positive for EPO at the Campagnolo GFNY World Championship event in an out-of-competition control.
Race organizers say that both riders were among several randomly selected athletes out of a testing pool of 60 which contained riders with a chance of placing in the top 10 overall or win an age group. Both riders will be handed lifetime bans from its events.
Strangely, organizers claim that Mendez tried to avoid detection by claiming to be his own twin brother, who was also participating. His brother eventually finished 71st. while Mendez, who used to be a professional Ironman athlete, finished 25th.
Uli Fluhme, CEO of the GFNY events:
It’s simple, you can’t catch cheaters if you don’t perform doping controls. These results show that testing is necessary and that it works.
Unfortunately, most large races still don’t test which sends a clear, yet terribly worrying sign: doping is allowed here.
We don’t allow course cutting at our races so why would we look the other way when it comes to doping? GFNY riders train hard for races. They deserve fair competition. We owe them doping controls, even if the costs are now well over $15,000 each year.
Not testing the athletes is a selfish, cost-saving decision from a race director. It forces everyone to take drugs to try to level the playing field.
I’ll be at GFNY Santa Fe this weekend, glad to see race organizers taking these types of shenanigans seriously.