In the wake of today's UCI announcement that André Cardoso (Trek-Segafredo) tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition control earlier this month, the Portuguese rider has denied ever having used EPO or any performance enhancing drug. Cardoso said he has requested his B sample be tested "as soon as possible."
Writing on Facebook, Cardoso, who has been provisionally suspended by both the UCI and his team until results of the B sample test return, said he would never let down his team, teammates or the sport.
"Today, I received notification from the UCI that my A Sample, from a urine test done at my home on June 18th, tested positive for Erythropoietin" Cardoso wrote on Facebook. "I have requested to the UCI that my B sample be tested as soon as possible."
Cardoso was brought on board Trek-Segafredo this year in part to support Alberto Contador in the Tour de France. This year would have been the 32-year-old's first crack at the Tour after having raced the Giro d'Italia three times and the Vuelta a España four.
"Getting the chance to ride at the pinnacle of professional cycling is the greatest honor I could ever hope for, and I was looking forward to doing my best for my team and myself at the Tour," he wrote. "I believe in clean sport and have always conducted myself as a clean athlete, but I realize that this news puts a dark cloud on not just myself but also on our sport and my team, teammates and staff.
"Before anything else, those people are my friends and colleagues for whom I have unlimited respect, and under no circumstances would I ever do something that could put them, their families or their reputations in jeopardy."
Cardoso went on to write he was devastated by the news and asked his colleagues and fans alike not to judge him too quickly.
"I am fully aware that I will be presumed to be guilty, but it's important to me to say that I am devastated by this news and I wanted to state that I have never taken any illegal substances," Cardoso wrote. "I've seen firsthand through my career the awful effects that performance enhancing drugs have had on our sport, and I would never want to be a part of that. I've always tried to be a constructive influence in the peloton and on young, aspiring cyclists. It is my great hope that the B sample will come back as negative and clear me of any wrongdoing.
"Until then, I hope that those who know me, trust me when I say that I'm innocent, and that my colleagues and cycling fans everywhere don't judge me too quickly during this difficult time."
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