Gobernacion de Antioquia's Oscar Sevilla is sitting in second place overall at the UCI 2.1 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah afterStage 1 and some have begun to wonder why he is permitted to compete after producing a positive A-sample at the Vuelta a Colombia in August last year. According to the Spaniard, he is still waiting for the Spanish Cycling Federation to come to a decision with regard to his case, which will likely happen in November of December.
"My situation was similar to Ezequiel Mosquera, and for the moment, it is not finished, but I have no answers yet on the decision," Sevilla told Cyclingnews. "I am supposed to find out about the Spanish Federation's decision in November and December. But, I don't think anything will happen."
On August 15 of last year, Sevilla produced a positive urine A-sample for hydroxyethyl starch during the final stage of the Vuelta a Colombia. The substance is thought to be used by athletes as a masking agent to limit the detection of other banned products.
"I was at the Tour of Colombia and in yellow for 11 days where I had doping controls and no problems," Sevilla said. "I crashed the second to last stage and went to the hospital for lacerations. I had no doping control that day. I had the next doping control on Sunday, August 15 and that was positive. The hospitals in Colombia are different and about 20 years in the past. I don't know what happened."
Although the substance is not on the banned list governed by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), it was reported that the International Cycling Union (UCI) handed Sevilla a provisional suspension. Hydroxyethyl starch is listed on WADA's prohibited list as a "specified substance," meaning that it does not carry an automatic provisional suspension. However, the Spanish Cycling Federation later announced that it would not suspend Sevilla and that it would only consider a penalty if the B-sample also returned positive.
"The substance that I tested positive for is not a substance that will make you improve performance and it is not a substance on the banned list like steroids or others," Sevilla said. "I think that it is weird that this is still going on."
"I still don't know for sure, but I think there will be no problem," he said. "But, it will be the federation's decision. I am a little worried about this and sad. I think that once this is finished there will be no problem and I will continue racing next year."
Sevilla is a well known for his climbing ability and has placed inside the top 10 at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana. He competed for teams Kelme, Phonak and T-Mobile. However, he was fired from the latter after being implicated in the Operacion Puerto investigation.
"For me, this new situation is terrible and after all that happened after Operacion Puerto, no, I didn't do this," Sevilla said. "I love this sport, it is my happiness and my life. Operacion Puerto was very bad for me, but I have had six years with nothing and so all this new situation is sad. I continue because I love racing my bike, if not, I would just stay home."
Sevilla competed for teams Relax-Gam and Rock Racing from 2007-2010. He is currently competing for the Colombia-registered UCI team Gobernacion de Antioquia and is racing at the Tour of Utah from August 9-14. He has continued to produce results with victories at national and international events like the Route de Sud, Reading Classic, Vuelta Asturias, Cascade Cycling Classic and the Vuelta a Colombia. However, despite these results, he has not been able to find his way back to racing for a top international team.
"I would like very much to race on a big team again but after Operacion Puerto and now this, I don't think it is possible because of these problems," Sevilla said. "It was my dream and I would love to once again and do races like the Tour de France or the Giro or Vuelta."
"I would like to be on a big team because I like the good conditions of professional cycling," he said. "But, I have had bad luck because of these problems. I guess that is life. Now, I can only live in the present, and what is happening with me now. I can't keep thinking about the past or the future."
For now, Sevilla is on the hunt for an overall victory at the Tour of Utah. His teammate Sergio Henao is currently leading the race after winning the opening prologue, ahead of Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com). Riders who are currently in contention for the overall classification include Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo), Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) and Levi Leipheimer (RasioShack).
"I don't know if I can win but my team is very strong," Sevilla said. "It is mountainous here and similar to Colombia. I have a strong motivation to win here, it is my third Tour of Utah, I think it is possible to win but there are good riders here. Me and my team are very strong too."