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De La Puebla Ramos nabbed by passport program

Alberto Fernandez De La Puebla Ramos won a stage of the Euskal Bizikleta in 2007

Alberto Fernandez De La Puebla Ramos won a stage of the Euskal Bizikleta in 2007
(Image credit: Christine Grein)

Spaniard Alberto Fernandez De La Puebla Ramos has been suspended by the International Cycling Union (UCI) after testing positive for the blood booster EPO. The Fuji-Servetto rider's positive came from an out-of-competition control taken on October 15, 2009.

The rider had been targeted based upon data from his biological passport values, the UCI said. He was provisionally suspended pending a hearing by the Spanish cycling federation.

Fernandez De La Puebla Ramos is the latest in a series of riders to be sanctioned as a result of the UCI's passport programme. His teammate Riccardo Serrano was one of five riders who were the first to be suspended for irregular blood values along with another former Saunier Duval rider, Ruben Lobato Elvira.

Serrano also tested positive for EPO CERA in two separate samples taken as part of the passport programme this year - one in May and another in June.

The biological passport programme began in 2008, with the UCI regularly collecting blood samples in order to detect fluctuations in a rider's values that might indicate doping. While few riders have been suspended for irregular values alone, the system has been effective in allowing the UCI to target riders for out-of-competition testing.

Danilo Di Luca became the highest profile rider to fall as part of the scheme. He tested positive for CERA during this year's Giro d'Italia.

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