Vuelta al Táchira winner Jimmy Briceño recorded a haemotocrit level of 63% according to newspaper Diario de los Andes. The 27-year-old Venezuelan rider underwent tests for his biological passport after he signed with Pro Continental team Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela. The team decided not to pursue the signing of Briceño.
"Blood analysis resulted in a worrying haematocrit level of 63 and a haemoglobin level of 21," the national federation told Briceño after a meeting, according to Diario de los Andes. He was therefore denied a biopassport which he needs to be able to compete in a Pro Continental team.
Briceño and his teammate and countryman Carlos Gálviz signed a contract with Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela in February. Briceño had just won the Vuelta al Táchira for the second time in his career with Gálviz as runner-up. "We contract the best young riders in Venezuela," team manager Gianni Savio said when visiting the country in February.
The Italian team works together with the Venezuelan government and cycling federation. "These riders from Venezuela are the future of cycling in this country. We want to let them grow and prepare them for the big leap to the World Tour," Savio said.
Briceño was part of the Lotería del Táchira team for the past four seasons. He won the Vuelta al Táchira in 2012 and 2014. He also managed to win three stages in the UCI 2.2 race in Venezuela.