Aevolo Cycling expressed their 'shock' and 'sadness' after learning that their former rider Luis Villalobos tested positive for growth hormone GHRP-6 while he was under contract with their team last year.
The UCI announced Monday that Villalobos returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for growth hormone GHRP-6 in a sample collected by the Mexican National Anti-Doping Organisation during an out-of-competition control on April 25, 2019.
"I'm blindsided and heartbroken," Aevolo team director Michael Creed said in the press statement. "I want to know how this happened and I hope that Luis can help us with that by being open and honest."
Villalobos, 21, is currently under contract with EF Pro Cycling having signed a three-year contract to compete with the American WorldTour team in 2018. The unique deal kept the Mexican at his Continental team until August 2019 when he started racing with EF Pro Cycling.
Villalobos raced with the Continental team Aevolo Cycling beginning in 2017. During that time he twice won the time trial at the Mexican National Championships (2018 and 2019). He was also fourth in a stage and eighth overall at the Tour of Utah, where he also won the best young rider competition. He was third at Winston Salem Cycling Classic.
While racing for EF Pro Cycling, he competed at the Tour of Poland, Tour of Britain, EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg and Bretagne Classic at the end of 2019. This February, he raced at the Tour de la Provence and Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var.
According to a letter that EF Pro Cycling received from from the UCI Monday, Villalobos' sample was taken out of competition on April 25, 2019 in Lago de Moreno, Mexico, and indicated the presence of GHRP-6 in the rider’s A sample. GHRP-6 is a growth-hormone releasing peptide,
EF Pro Cycling announced that they have suspended Villalobos from the team indefinitely.
Villalobos has the right to request the opening and analysis of his B sample.
Aevolo Cycling noted in their press statement that the team, a UCI Continental U23 development team, are fully committed to clean cycling and has a zero-tolerance policy. The team also stated that they were unaware until Monday that the World Anti-Doping Agency was conducting the analysis.
"We have been in a bit of a daze since hearing the news this morning," co-director Jono Coulter said in the team press statement. "This team prides itself on developing athletes as cyclists and fine young people, this is just a kick in the guts."