By Jean-François Quénet in Varese, Italy
The new Under 23 road world champion, Fabio Duarte, may not be able to celebrate as much as he'd like after his win Friday in Varese, Italy. Like fellow Colombian Santiago Botero, Duarte tested positive for testosterone.
The result came during the Clasica de Girardot prior to the Tour of Colombia in July of 2007. Duarte has been adamant that his values were naturally at that level, and the Colombian federation said it would prove so before July of 2008. However, nothing appears to have been done. Furthermore, the UCI said it knew nothing of Duarte's case until Friday.
Duarte was selected by the UCI to ride for its mixed team in the Tour d l'Avenir earlier this year. He returned to Europe in the colors of the French Club VC La Pomme-Marseille, but he wasn't permitted to race as an amateur in France since he was also registered as a member of the Continental team Colombia ès Passion. Prior to the Tour de l'Avenir, he took part with La Pomme in some one-day races in Italy and the Tour of the Valle d'Aosta where he was forced to pull out due to an insect bite.
"We need to check," said UCI anti-doping manager Anne Gripper, admitting she wasn't aware of Duarte's outstanding anti-doping case until Friday. UCI doctor Mario Zorzoli said that a positive test for testosterone had to be confirmed by an IRMS test, as was done in the case of Floyd Landis at the 2006 Tour de France.
"We will re-open his case," Zorzoli told Cyclingnews.