AFLD rules on EPO case, UCI studying decision
By Shane Stokes
Contrary to earlier reports suggesting that he could get a licence this year, Spanish rider Manuel Beltrán has been banned for two years from French competition and looks set to suffer the same punishment on the world stage.
The former Liquigas rider claimed in recent days that the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Spanish federation have communicated to him that he would be allowed to race anywhere except the Tour de France. The UCI refuted this to Cyclingnews shortly afterwards, saying that it had never communicated this message to either the Spanish federation or Beltrán himself.
On Thursday the governing body then further clarified the situation. "UCI received the AFLD's decision on February 9th," said its spokesman Enrico Carpani. "This decision, which imposes a two-year suspension on the rider and, at first glance appears to conform to the WADA's international code (Beltrán did not appear at the hearing and therefore renounced his right to defend himself), is currently being examined by our services concerned.
"If the decision is confirmed – and therefore recognized by the UCI regulations – it would come into effect without any geographical limits."
It is expected that the UCI will follow suit and ban the rider, effectively ending his career.
Whether or not the Spanish federation had indeed confirmed to the rider that he could apply for a licence in the absence of a decision from the AFLD, the UCI reiterated that it was not involved in any such communication.
"As the responsibility for issuing a license to a rider is entirely the responsibility of the National Federation, the UCI has never been involved in this procedure. It estimates that any such possible intervention would be untimely in the current situation."
A decision is expected soon on the case of Stefan Schumacher, who won two time trials in the Tour but then tested positive for CERA.