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Sergio Henao (Sky Procycling) on the podium
Colombian to be named as reserve for Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse
Team Sky has told Cyclingnews that Henao could be cleared to race in the next two weeks, and will be named as a reserve for both races in anticipation that he could be free to race next month.
The Colombian has been out of racing since the Tour of Oman, where he finished seventh. Henao was pulled from the racing programme soon after the race, after monthly tests revealed anomalies in his blood passport. The tests in question were made in October, when Henao was at home in Colombia. In an attempt to understand the effects of living at altitude, Sky decided to send Henao back for testing.
Henao returned to Europe earlier this week to complete sea-level tests after spending six weeks in his native Colombia. He has yet to be cleared by Team Sky, but the team must name their riders in advance and have therefore chosen to put him on both lists.
The Dauphiné begins on June 8, while the Tour de Suisse starts the following Wednesday on June 11. Both races are seen as preparation for the Tour de France in July and if Henao performs well then he could still be in contention for a spot in the Tour de France squad.
Team Sky has been weakened by illness and injuries this season and it was recently confirmed that Ian Stannard would not race due to a spinal fracture. It isn’t known how much form Henao has lost during the testing but his inclusion in the team would be a boost in the mountains, for Chris Froome as he looks to defend his title.
Team Sky issued this statement to Cyclingnews, "Sergio Henao returned to Europe on Monday to complete his altitude research programme. After six weeks of comprehensive scientific evaluation in the mountains of Colombia, Sergio will now undertake his final tests at sea level in Nice.
"Within the next two weeks, the independent experts will conclude their analysis and produce a final report. The team will then determine the right steps to take.
"Team Sky will also make all data and findings from the research programme available to WADA, the UCI and CADF. To prepare for any potential return to racing, provisional entries have been made for Sergio - as a reserve - at the Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour de Suisse.
"However, no decisions will be taken until the scientific research is completed and has been properly assessed."
A further statement will be made when the tests have been completed analysed.