Victor Hugo Peña is hopeful this project will propel Colombia back to the top of world cycling.
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Team doctor Massimiliano Mantovani confident of strong anti-doping culture
Under the watchful eyes of experienced team doctor Massimiliano Mantovani, the new professional continental outfit Colombia-Coldeportes has undergone its first series of pre-season tests. Mantovani, who has worked in cycling for over a decade, including previous stints with Barloworld and Team Type 1, said the preliminary testing was important to building an internal profile of the team's riders for both physiological management and the team's anti-doping program.
After potential recruit Edwin Parra's positive test while riding for the Boyacá Orgullo de América team earlier in the year, Coldeportes is taking the issue of doping very seriously. Parra had been set to join Coldeportes, but after the news of his positive test was released in November by the Colombian national federation, the team quickly severed its ties to the Colombian rider.
All riders in the team are to be tested internally on a fortnightly basis at the team's European base in Italy and Mantovani told Cyclingnews that it would be nigh on impossible to use any form of PED without him knowing.
"We have a unique set-up that means that all riders will be living together, with the staff in Italy," said Mantovani. "I will be overseeing testing, and we plan to randomly test riders at least once every fortnight. It would be crazy for a rider to try to dope in these circumstances.
"It's the same system as WADA, and to me the prospect of a random testing protocol makes it far too risky to try to dope. Personally I'm confident that with the system we have we can avoid any problems."
As a professional continental team hoping to ride in the WorldTour, the team will also be taking part in the UCI's biological passport system, along with the normal random testing conducted by both the UCI and WADA.
"In the next few days I will be talking to riders individually and as a group about the subject, and I honestly think we have a good group of riders here who have the right kind of values."
"We have only 16 riders, which makes things a lot easier to manage for me. I am alone, but I think it's still possible to do a good job."
Colombia-Coldeportes is a new Colombian team, that has no affiliation to the Colombia es Pasion - Cafe de Colombia team. The team has ambitions to ride at all three of the Grand Tours and is harbouring a roster that includes former under 23 world champion Fabio Duarte and 2011 Tour de l'Avenir winner Jhoan Esteban Chaves who the team hope will develop into Grand Tour contenders in the years to come.
A gallery of the opening day of internal testing can be seen here.
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