The UCI announced on Tuesday that Katusha rider Giampaolo Caruso has returned a positive test for EPO in an out-of-competition anti-doping test taken on March 27, 2012. According to a press release from the sport's governing body, a sample had been stored and was reanalysed in light of new scientific developments.
The Italian rider has been provisionally suspended, and has the right to request a B-sample analysis. Team Katusha released a statement shortly after.
“Team Katusha has been informed this afternoon by the UCI that Italian rider Giampaolo Caruso has been notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding. The presence of erythropoietin has been detected in a sample collected on 27th March 2012. In accordance with the UCI Regulations the rider has been provisionally suspended.
Bearing in mind the anti-doping regulations, the team will wait until the analysis of the B sample has been conducted before taking any further action or making further comment. However, Team Katusha would like to underline that this news comes as a complete shock.”
In the press release, the UCI noted that, "As per the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI ADR, the UCI has established a Storage and Reanalysis Strategy. The strategy, implemented by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), provides that samples from the leaders of the Grand Tours, UCI World Championships and general rankings of all cycling disciplines will be stored for potential retesting. Other samples, based on risk assessment carried out by the CADF, laboratory recommendations, Athlete Biological Passport data, new detection methods and scientific developments, will also be retained for retesting. The standard time of storage and further reanalysis under this strategy is up to 10 years."
This is the second anti-doping rule violation from the Katusha team this year, after Luca Paolini was informed of a positive test for cocaine while at the Tour de France. The test was taken as part of an in-compeition control on July 7 (stage 4). He was ejected from the Tour and has been provisionally suspended.
Katusha is a member of the Mouvement pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC), and in accordance with those rules must agree to self-suspend their team for eight days, should two riders test positive within a 12-month period (according to the control dates), however, Carouso's and Paolini's controls were taken more than three years a part, leaving this rule to be somewhat vague.
The UCI will make the final determination with regard to a team suspension, and according to their rules, if the team is 'notified' of two anti-doping rule violations (Adverse Analytical Findings for a Prohibited Method or Prohibited Substance) with in a 12-month period they could be suspended from any international event for a period determined by the UCI.
This is Caruso's second anti-doping offense. He testetested positive for Nandralone on January 25, 2003 and received a six-month suspension.
Caruso was due to start the Vuelta a España behind team leader Joaquim Rodriguez.
Katusha released a statement that read, "Bearing in mind the anti-doping regulations, the team will wait until the analysis of the B sample has been conducted before taking any further action or making further comment.
"However, Team Katusha would like to underline that this news comes as a complete shock."