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Colom responds to doping charge

By:
Les Clarke
Published:
June 10, 2009, 16:14 BST,
Updated:
June 13, 2009, 13:47 BST
Katusha, it's Russian for 'I beat you' is something along the lines of what Antonio Colom was saying on the podium.

Katusha, it's Russian for 'I beat you' is something along the lines of what Antonio Colom was saying on the podium.

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Katusha rider rejects EPO accusation

Antonio Colom has responded to the announcement that he returned a positive doping control on April 2 which has seen him provisionally suspended by the UCI.

Colom received notification from the UCI relating to the alleged infringement on the afternoon of June 8 and was subsequently suspended temporarily. Colom claims the sanction is for "the presence of a substance that is not specifically included on the 2009 Prohibited List," adding, "This suspension will remain until it is determined whether or not there is a violation of the anti-doping rules.

Colom stated unequivocally that he, "Rejects the accusation of having used EPO and other doping substances and that is why my group of lawyers is working on my defense; as a first step we have applied to test the B sample."

As is the wont of many athletes who find themselves facing a ban due to a positive control, Colom claimed that protocols relating to the collection and handling of the urine sample may be questionable. He and his legal counsel have therefore requested "all documents relating to the analysis of the A sample to verify that the process was successful and there has been no alteration of the sample."

Colom added, "The reason for the doubts generated by this analysis are not unfounded; after this year's Tour of Algarve I received a threatening call from a 'hidden' phone number saying that I was positive. This call was repeated after my performance in Paris-Nice."

The news of Colom's alleged positive control spread fast, and it's for this reason that the rider believes due process in testing may have been jeopardised. "During the start of the 2009 Giro, a rumour spread among the sports media, which said it had news of the positive [control]; this was communicated to me through Pipe Gomez, President of the Association of Professional Cyclists, who had received the information from Josu Garay, of [Spanish publication] Diario Marca, who refused to cite his source," Colom stated.

"The UCI was notified of this information and the calls... and after several days of investigation, the UCI ruled that it was all false and unfounded and that everything was ok; I informed my manager - Andrey Tchemil - that all is well, and that's when Josu Garay informed that everything was unfounded."

Colom makes it clear that, "it's because of this series of events that [his lawyers] are starting a new process of research." He called on the UCI to pay attention to the counter analysis and the arguments presented by his legal team so that the suspension can be lifted and "this whole situation is clarified."

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