The national U23 champion of Colombia, Róbinson López, has tested positive for CERA, denying him a ticket to Europe that he'd hoped would help launch a professional career.
López’s name has not yet appeared on the UCI’s list of provisional suspensions, but Colombian newspapers report today that the 20-year-old returned a positive test for the substance, known as ‘third generation’ EPO, at the Vuelta a Colombia in August.
López, riding for the Boyacá es Para Vivirla team, finished 14th overall and was best young rider at the Vuelta, one of the most important races in South America. Back in February he had won the U23 road race at the Colombian nationals with a strong solo ride, after finishing eighth in the time trial the previous day.
His performances earned him a ticket to Europe with Unieuro-Trevigiani, a Continental-level Italian team, but that will not happen now. The team confirmed to Cyclingnews that they had not officially signed Lopez, as they received notification of his positive test before the contract had been finalised and sent to the UCI. They have rescinded their offer, citing their strict anti-doping policy.
López may not be able to race again, in Europe or otherwise, for a long time. The last rider to test positive for CERA, Joao Marcelo Pereira Gaspar, received a four-year ban this year. López has the right to request analysis of his B-sample before any sanction is decided but has not yet indicated whether or not he will do so.