David Garcia Dapena has called his doping during last year's Vuelta a Espana “the biggest mistake of my life.” The former Xacobeo Galicia rider confessed to having used an illegal product and explained the circumstances, saying that he was worried about obtaining a contract for the next season.
Garcia, 33 and now retired from cycling, tested positive for EPO and Hydroxyethyl Starch in doping controls after two separate stages of the 2010 Vuelta. He was given a two-year suspension. The team stopped operations at the end of the season due to a lack of funding.
“I did not know what product I was taking, but I was aware that I was doping,” he told La Voz de Galicia. He did it out of ambition and uncertainty. “I had no offer for 2011. The meetings prior to the Vuelta with team officials on the continuation of Xacobeo were not encouraging, quite the contrary. And all that led me to make a wrong decision to give the worst possible ending to my career.”
Garcia claimed that he was not really sure what he took. “I turned to a coach outside the team, who sold me the product, which he said was undetectable and would improve my performance. After days of doubt, I decided to use it. But I did not know it was EPO.” He refused to provide the name of the person who provided him with the drug.
There was “no organised doping at Xacobeo,” Garcia insisted. “There was a zero tolerance policy. No one at Xacobeo encouraged me to do what I did. It was a personal decision. (Team manager) Alvaro Pino was always sharp on this issue. But neither he nor anyone else can control what I do in my house.”
As for the Hydroxyethyl starch, he cannot explain that, saying the positive test was “something that even today I do not accept, simply because I never took it, let alone to conceal EPO as some insist on saying, since among other things because I didn't know I was taking EPO.”
His teammate Ezequiel Mosquera also tested positive for Hydroxyethyl starch. “Ezequiel and I are friends, I will not deny that, but we never shared anything more than friendship. Some insisted that he had to take EPO like me and put us in the same bag, but it is not so.
“I was positive for this substance and was suspended. He was not. In addition, our situations were totally different, my future was in the air and he had signed his contract with Vacansoleil.”
Garcia lives on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where he has opened a business offering organised cycling and Segway tours. “The company is called Volata Sport. The name gives me away. In the end I'm still tied to the world of two wheels.”