Mar 07 CAS bans cyclist Iban Mayo for 2 years

Aug. 12, 2008, 8:24 a.m. (ET)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Tuesday imposed a two-year ban on Spanish cyclist Iban Mayo for doping at the 2007 Tour de France.

The verdict ended a yearlong investigation and is the latest in a series of doping cases involving EPO to embarrass Spanish cycling.

The 30-year-old Mayo tested positive for the endurance-boosting hormone on a rest day at the 2007 tour.

But the Spanish national federation refused to discipline Mayo, saying the testing process at laboratories in Paris and Ghent, Belgium, was flawed.

A second test on the backup sample was conducted in Ghent because of vacations at the Chatenay-Malabry lab in Paris. When the 'B' test was inconclusive the Spanish federation closed its investigation.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) requested a further test at Chatenay-Malabry, which last December confirmed the presence of EPO.

The UCI used this result as the basis of an appeal to world sport's highest court to impose a two-year ban that is demanded by the World Anti-Doping Agency code for a first offense.

A CAS panel of three lawyers, which heard the case in May, on Tuesday sided with the world governing body and upheld the integrity of the Paris laboratory.

"The decision of the UCI to proceed to a new analysis of the 'B' sample was in accordance with the letter and spirit of (its) anti-doping regulations and of the international standard for laboratories," CAS said in a statement.

Furthermore, "the two analyses performed by (the Paris lab) had brought the clear evidence of the presence of recombinant EPO in the urine of Iban Mayo."

CAS disqualified Mayo from his 16th place finish in the 2007 Tour and ordered his two-year suspension to start July 31 last year, the day he was fired by his Saunier-Duval team.

Mayo is a specialist climber who won the 2004 Dauphine Libere stage race in France. He was not signed by any team for the 2008 season and has not raced this year.

The verdict is the latest doping case attracting unwelcome attention to Spanish cycling in recent weeks, despite the victories of Carlos Sastre in the Tour de France and Samuel Sanchez in the Olympic men's road race.

Moises Duenas Nevado and Manuel Beltran tested positive at the Tour for third-generation EPO, also known as CERA, and Maria Isabel Moreno was caught using the same substance at the Olympic village in Beijing.

Moreno had been due to compete in the women's road race and individual time trial. Instead, she became the first athlete thrown out of the Games for doping.

Her ouster led UCI President Pat McQuaid to blame Spain's anti-doping officials for allegedly not doing enough.

"The Spanish federation have constantly defended athletes who have been involved in doping cases," McQuaid told The Associated Press on Tuesday before the Mayo verdict was published.

"They have been light in the way they've treated doping cases."

McQuaid was hopeful the UCI would have its anti-doping biological passport in place for the three-week Spanish Vuelta race, which begins Aug. 30.

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AP Sports Writer Paul Logothetis in Beijing contributed to this report

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