"B" samples positive for Iban Mayo and Björn Leukemans

Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir)

Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir) (Image credit: Sirotti)

Iban Mayo

Iban Mayo's B sample returned positive for EPO in a test performed by the French national anti-doping laboratory (LNDD) in Chatenay-Malabry this Wednesday. After the A sample was found positive for the performance-enhancer at the Tour de France's second rest day last July by that same laboratory, the B sample was first analysed by a another accredited lab in Gent, Belgium. But scientists there found it to be "inconclusive", which made the International Cycling Union (UCI) ask the French lab to re-test the remainder of the B sample after the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) announced the probe to be "negative".

Anne Gripper, UCI anti-doping manager explained this discrepancy in October, saying, "In Gent, they use a slightly different technique [than the Paris laboratory]."

The case is thus far from closed for the former Saunier Duval rider, who will likely turn to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) to argue his innocence if the RFEC suspends him. "Mayo will not admit the result, there could be a legal conflict," Eugenio Bermudez, RFEC secretary general had announced previously. On the other hand, if the RFEC decides not to sanction, the UCI will is bound to appeal that decision in front of the CAS, too.

Mayo's attorney José Rodríguez, who is the ex-president of the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA), insisted the counter-analysis by the Chatenay-Malabry lab was illegal. "We continue insisting that this analysis is a totally illegal control because it is not provided in the norms of the UCI, and so, this can not be valid when it comes to any sanction," said affirmed Rodríguez according to Marca.

Rodríguez indicated to L'Equipe that he will be evaluating "all possible options" for next steps, including an appeal to CAS, but said he has not yet had a chance to discuss with Mayo. "I don't know his reaction because he is not contactable," but the lawyer was betting Mayo would be unhappy to hear the results. "He may not have liked this news very much."

Björn Leukemans

Björn Leukemans' B probe also came back positive for artificial testosterone, the Belgian press reported on Wednesday. The test was conducted by the WADA-accredited lab in Barcelona, which confirmed the previous findings. The Belgian rider continued to proclaim his innocence and team Predictor-Lotto said that he would remain suspended.

Leukemans tested positive in an out-of-competition control on September 26. The lab in Gent, Belgium, indicated that his testosterone values were too high, and a lab in Cologne, Germany, certified the presence of artificial testosterone, which has now been confirmed by the Spanish lab.

The 30 year-old had previously claimed to have naturally high testosterone, and, alternatively, that he was having sex when the testers arrived, which would elevate his testosterone count. However, neither of these explanations would account for the presence of artificial testosterone in his urine.

"I am nevertheless innocent!" Leukemans said on his personal website. "These values are natural," he told Sporza. "It is not possible that I am positive. I risk a suspension of two years. My career is on the line. I continue to train."

His team suspended him when the positive A test was announced. In an official statement, the team said that it had heard the news of the B test only through the press and had not been officially notified. "A hearing is programmed for January 8, and this rider will be heard by the Flemish Community. In order to avoid any prejudice to the rights of the defense, the team will maintain the suspension of the rider until the results of the hearing are known."

However, team manager Marc Sergeant indicated to Sporza that if the report was true, the team would dismiss Leukemans.

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