Eladio Jiménez has responded to the announcement that he has tested positive for blood-boosting product EPO by insisting that he is innocent of any wrongdoing. "I am innocent because I've done nothing, but I know this is difficult to demonstrate because there have been similar cases before," the 33-year-old Spaniard told his local paper, La Tribuna de Salamanca.
Jiménez was informed on December 4 that an A sample given on August 12 after he had won the sixth stage of the Tour of Portugal had shown traces of EPO. "I still haven't asked for the counter-analysis because I haven't had time, but I will do so after talking with my lawyer and the [riders'] association. It will be on December 15," Jiménez said.
A former-member of the Banesto (1998-2003) and Kelme (2004-2006) squads, the Spaniard has spent the past two seasons riding in Portugal, latterly with the CC Loulé team. He had agreed a deal to join his close friend Francisco Mancebo at Rock Racing in 2010.
"This really hurts because I was very much looking forward to riding again with Paco Mancebo. Finishing this way is the toughest thing that's ever happened to me. After all that I've struggled for in this sport! Moreover, last season they even did eight random controls on me at home and I didn't say a thing about it," Jiménez added.
He concluded by questioning the timing of the testing and the release of the news of his positive control. "This has all been spinning around in my head: if the urine control was taken on August 12, why did they wait until November 16 to test the sample, and then why did they wait so long to tell me about it? That's what I don't understand."