Team Spain's Maria Isabel Moreno, 27 years old of Huesca, tested positive for EPO and became the first athlete of the 2008 Olympic Games to fail a doping control, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced this morning.
"This is not good news for Spanish cycling," said the general secretary of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), Eugenio Bermúdez. "It diminishes our satisfaction, but does not blur the work performed yesterday by her companions ... or the medal of Samuel [Sánchez]."
Moreno travelled to the Olympics' host city of Beijing on July 30 with team-mates Anna Sanchis and Marta Vilajosana, and Directeur Sportif Mikel Zabala to represent her country in the road race (August 10) and time trial (13). The IOC tested her one day after her arrival, July 31. Before knowing the results, she left China the same evening – 22:00 – due to what she reported as an "anxiety attack."
"No one said it was an 'anxiety attack,' but she was crying and beyond herself. The team's doctor requested that she returned home and we expedited her return that same night. She was crying or sleeping 99 percent of the journey. The crisis was real," explained Bermúdez.
She released a statement on Saturday in which she apologised for her unavailability to the media and scheduled a press conference for today in Zaragoza. This morning the conference was delayed to a later day due to "low spirits."
Moreno, Spanish road champion, performed well leading up to the Olympics. She won a stage in the Vuelta a Occidente (May 25), finished fifth overall in the Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale (June 17 to 22) and 15th overall in the Giro d'Italia Femminile (July 5 to 13).