Ezequiel Mosquera, who tested positive for Hydroxyethyl starch (HES) during the Vuelta a España, has maintained his innocence since the news was confirmed on Thursday. Speaking to the media in Teo, province of Coruña, the Vuelta runner-up said that he was surprised at the news that anti-doping controls had found a substance that "sounded chinese".
He maintained that he did not use performance-enhancing substances or blood doping, for which HES is known to act as a masking agent. "I signed a contract with my new team, Vacansoleil, on the first rest day of the Vuelta. I had no reason to commit this kind of folly," he said. The positive test was carried out on August 16.
Meanwhile, the Dutch squad declared itself "upset" about the adverse analytical finding of the substance, which as such is not performance-enhancing but still on the list of forbidden substances. Because of the fact that it is not a direct performance booster, a rider tested positive for it in his A sample cannot be suspended until the confirmation of the positive by the B sample, and a disciplinary proceeding by his national federation.
"It is not a doping substance," said Mosquera, who had called the UCI after the news was confirmed. "I am not suspended, they told me if I wanted to, I could ride the Giro di Lombardia."
However, if Mosquera requests the analysis of his B sample and if this confirms the initial finding, disciplinary proceedings will be opened against him. All will then depend on how the Spanish federation treats the affair and whether the presence of a masking agent can prove any intentional blood doping. In any case, it is also in the interest of his new Dutch team Vacansoleil to clarify.
"We have a zero tolerance policy with regard to doping, so all the facts have to be clear," said Vacansoleil manager Daan Luijckx. "The contract with Mosquera will take effect only on January 1, 2011, but this contract is now under question." If the B sample proves positive, too, then the contract binding the two parties will be immediately annulled, according to Dutch media.