Oscar Sevilla is considering representing Colombia at the world championships when he returns from suspension next season. Sevilla, who returned a positive test for Hydroxyethyl Starch at the Vuelta a Colombia in 2010, has lived and raced in the South American country for the past number of years.
“I have residency in Colombia and they have offered to me citizenship to ride the Worlds for Colombia, so I’m going to think about it,” Sevilla told La Verdad. “However, I’m not forgetting that Spain is my country, and I carry Albacete and Castilla-La Mancha inside of me.”
Sevilla is currently serving a six-month suspension for his 2010 positive test for Hydroxyethyl Starch. After lengthy deliberations, the Spanish Cycling Federation finally handed sanctioned Sevilla in September of this year, and the Gobernacion De Antioquia-Indeportes Antiquia rider’s ban expires on March 12, 2012.
Hydroxyethyl Starch is a blood plasma volume expander that can be used as a masking agent for EPO. The specified substance is illegal only if used intravenously, and Sevilla has attempted to blame his positive test on the treatment he received in a Colombian hospital following a crash.
“Only the method is prohibited and it was involuntary, because I went to hospital and the carried out first aid,” Sevilla claimed. “The rules say that it is my responsibility. That’s not something I agree with because it’s unjust.”
Sevilla has not raced for a top-level European team since he was fired by T-Mobile in 2006 after he was implicated in the Operacion Puerto investigation on the eve of the Tour de France. Like his fellow countryman and Puerto suspect Francisco Mancebo, he eventually moved outside of Europe to continue his career.
“The United States and South America have accepted us as we are, and accepted the image that we have,” Sevilla said. “They have respected our history and I think that we are valued there but not in Spain.”
On his return to action in 2012, the controversial Sevilla is again taking aim at races in the Americas. “I want to have a good campaign in the United States, in races like California, Colorado and Utah, which are very important, and then there are the Vuelta a Colombia and the Clasico RCN, which are huge for the team,” he said.
And a return to the Vuelta a España before he calls time on his career? “I’d like to ride it, but I haven’t lost any sleep over it.”