There is still no progress in the doping investigation concerning Ezequiel Mosquera (Vacansoleil-DCM), with the International Cycling Union (UCI) admitting that “problems” have arisen. The Spaniard is free to ride, but his team has not yet selected him for any races.
Mosquera finished second overall in the Vuelta a Espana last year and won the penultimate stage atop Bola del Mundo while riding for the now-defunct Xacobeo-Galicia team. Two weeks later it was announced that he and teammate David Garcia Da Pena had both tested positive for Hydroxyethyl starch, with Garcia also positive for EPO.
Both riders have denied using any illegal product or method.
HES is not a performance-enhancing product in itself, but may be used as a masking agent for EPO or blood doping. Although it is on the forbidden list, a rider who 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 understood that in Mosquera's case, the B sample has not yet been tested.
"There are some problems, that's true, but that doesn't mean the case is stopped,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews.
A rider must request that the B sample be opened and checked. Carpani would not go into specifics, but indicated that that was not the problem in Mosquera's case. When asked about a hypothetical case in which a rider simply refused to apply for analysis of the B sample, and whether that rider would face no penalties, Carpani said, “Obviously not. In such a case the UCI can ask the national federation of the rider to open a disciplinary proceeding based only on the A sample result."
Neither Mosquera nor the team would comment on the situation. Vacansoleil spokesman Frank Kwanten told Cyclingnews, “Mosquera decided to respect the UCI and the investigation and to have no reaction at all. So neither he nor the team will have anything to say on the matter.”
Kwanten also noted that the team has not yet used the 35-year-old in any races this season, saying, “Mosquera and the team are still talking about his programme.”
Garcia was given a two-year ban for the HES and EPO positives, and has since announced his retirement.
Oscar Sevilla also tested positive for HES at the Vuelta a Columbia last August, where he finished second. The Spanish cycling federation has opened disciplinary proceedings against him.